Yes, you read the title correctly. That’s not a mistake, Dejobaan Games really released a game with a title that has 25 A’s in it. AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! - A Reckless Disregard for Gravity is as descriptive a title as it is memorable and will be the bane of neat freaks for years to come (you’ll have to extend the “name” column in Steam to read the whole thing). Is this ridiculous ploy nothing short of annoying? Or did Dejobaan actually deliver a gaming experience as unique as its name? Had it been any other developer, I wouldn’t have believed it, but Dejobaan has certainly outdone itself.
It’s the future, there are floating skyscrapers and people have decided to live in them…I think. Honestly, the entire storyline is conveyed in the game’s opening theme song, which you’ll most likely skip because you want to get playing (or not, it’s actually a sweet song). The thing to do in this futuristic world is jump off buildings, fall extremely far, extremely fast, do it as cool as you can, and survive. While there may be no real “world” here, there is certainly a lot of interesting information conveyed in the news reports found between levels that are occasionally enlightening, but typically just hilarious.
As you might have guessed from the premise of the game, the entirety of the gameplay can pretty much be summed by: jump and don’t die. You would think a premise so simple would get boring pretty quickly. Surprisingly you would be wrong; I can’t get enough of it. The plethora of awesome levels, cool ways to rack up points, and laugh inducing dialogue, make it all worth it. You begin each level standing far above a floating city of skyscrapers and other various structures. You can move around and position yourself in order to achieve the best jump possible. You then take a deep breath, grit your teeth, and making a running leap off of your safe roost. The game has finally begun.
You earn points to get stars (out of five), and you earn stars to get teeth. You can use teeth to unlock other levels, tips, and other various witty expressions of Dejobaan’s ingenuity. To earn points you have to fall dangerously, as though jumping off of floating skyscrapers hundreds of miles above the ground isn’t dangerous enough. The two basic point earners are “kisses” and “hugs.” Kisses are achieved by passing a structure dangerously close. Hugs are racked up by falling as close to a building as you can and sticking with it. The third most common form of pointage is “plates.” There are strategically placed glass plates with point values on them. Crashing through one of these will give you the point value listed.
Just the three point accruing options I’ve listed make for some pretty intense flights. Your ability to control yourself in free fall is pretty unresponsive so you have to be especially careful. It’s still a lot better than if you tried this in real life, which you shouldn’t, unless you know what you are doing. Even then, it’s probably a bad idea. It seems like every level AaaaAaA had my heart pounding and my fingers stabbing at the keys to make those pinpoint little adjustments that made the difference between 1,000 points and 100 broken bones. There are many other little ways Dejobaan mixes things up, such as trampoline plates that launch you back up into the air to get even more kisses and hugs (or crash upward through a plate you missed earlier). You can high five spectators or flip-off protestors for extra points. In the rare event you see a bird, colliding with it will give you a huge point boost. Each level is completed by safely deploying your parachute fins and landing on something. Typically at the very bottom there are surfaces with a large red rings on them, landing in these will give you extra points.
The graphics in AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! - A Reckless Disregard for Gravity certainly aren’t top notch, but they certainly are indie. The structures and lights and billboards aren’t beautifully textured, but I guarantee you’ve probably never seen anything like them before. Anyway, when you’re falling at 90mp, you won’t notice, trust me. That’s where the sound kicks in. The whoosh of air rushing past your ears, the deep boom of the boost panels that make you go even faster, and the pounding soundtrack all play together to make the experience truly intense. If you were to play the game with the sound off, it would lose most of its excitement, so go buy some good headphones or a surround sound system and play it on a big screen and you will see how powerful an indie game can really be.
It is very difficult to cite Aaaaa for its content due to the comical nature of the game, but certain things do need to be addressed. As you might have guessed, the game has a general air of carelessness, and in fact seems to be a theme. Jumping off of buildings and doing risky stunts is quite irresponsible. Some poor behavior is also reflected in the ability to give the middle finger to protestors. Some advertising billboards have images of scantily clad women with satirical text such as “Now you will buy more of our product!” The player can also smack into buildings and ultimately crash into the ground, which is accompanied by a crunching noise, though nothing explicit is seen.
Again proving that the indie scene can pack quite a punch, Dejobaan has crafted a truly awesome gem. I can’t put my finger on exactly what it is that makes this game great. Whether it’s the sweet soundtrack, the laugh-till-you-cry news reports and so called meditations, or just the rush of leaping carelessly from a high building. I can’t honestly come up with a bad aspect for this game. It is rather difficult to achieve 5 stars on any level, so for those of you who are determined to fully and completely beat the game, you will be challenged. Another positive note, the system requirements are quite low for a modern game, so there is no need to worry about having a top-of-the-line machine to run it. So buy it, in fact, it makes a great gift, you should give it to somebody, but whatever you do, do not attempt to emulate it at home.
» By Daniel Straite, Plain Games. Published 1/30/2010 4:50:19 PM.