Jump off a tall building while opening your mouth as wide as possible, and you’re likely to emit a sound that closely resembles the name of indie developer Dejobaan Games’ latest effort. How cleverly fitting, since that’s exactly what Aaaaa! is all about. This out of control base jumping simulation wins far more than the award for being one of the longest and weirdest-named games around. If your day needs an adrenaline-fueled injection of some serious WTF, look no further.
Set in a futuristic, alternate-reality Boston, MA with floating architecture and nothing better to do than launch yourself from the highest building top, Aaaaa! has you jumping head-first through dozens of spiraling vertical levels filled with lots of stuff to smash into for maximum points or maximum death. Hugging the sides of buildings and other hovering obstacles as you plummet downward earns you hugs, and moving back and forth between buildings gives you kisses; both deliver huge point combos. There are other ways to score, like smashing through colored glass plates, parachuting accurately within the small landing zone, head-butting poultry, and not having your guts splattered to the four winds. Each jump is rated, and your reward for meeting certain score benchmarks comes in the form of human teeth. Yes, you read that correctly.
Everything in the game appears as small squares on a rotatable grid menu. You’ll have to spend the teeth you earn to unlock your way across the grid by accessing adjacent squares. This lets opens-up new levels, special items, and some other seriously odd stuff. We’re talking guided meditations, grandma’s cookie recipes, and pig de-bristling techniques level of weirdness. The usable items are just as brilliant and crazy. One lets you pound a triple-shot of espresso in mid-jump to slow your surroundings down and make it easier to maneuver through tough spots. Another has you spray painting graffiti on government buildings as you fall. Our favorite is a glove that lets you flip off protesters or give a thumbs-up to fans as you shoot past them. Dejobaan’s off-the-wall humor is evident in every aspect of the game’s design, and it really makes everything a whole lot more enjoyable. Not to say the underlying base jumping mechanics aren’t killer on their own, because they are.
Falling through tight spaces between buildings and maneuvering quickly through potentially deadly spaces is exhilarating and nerve-wracking. The first-person perspective really intensifies that action. Even though you’re moving at ridiculously high speeds, you can still pick up cool touches like small pedestrians, hovering cars, and absurd billboards scattered about the airborne city. Aaaaa! is a must for any self-respecting armchair thrill-junkie and one of the best indie games of the year.
Sep 4, 2009