What would you do if you could clone yourself? Stay in bed and let your doppelgänger endure your job for you? Become a magician and ruin Hugh Jackman's life? Solve increasingly complex problems in a 2D puzzle platformer? You'll have to opt for the latter playing as Filo. He's a green oval with flaps (character design is not this game's strong point), who has the highly relatable weakness for eating whatever's in front of him, consequences be damned. After gobbling some mysterious seeds, Filo finds himself cloned. There's a lesson here, kids – never eat anything.
These clones can be turned to stone and then used as platforms, weights for switches or as defence from enemy projectiles. Puzzles are based around placing clones wisely. Every time you leave a clone on a switch, or place one to block an obstacle, you'll have one less to use as a platform. Getting the balance right is the trick to mastering the opening levels.
Each of those levels has three collectables. Another Arc seed, an artifact that can be used to build new power ups, and a character costume (in case a circle with flaps isn't enough for you). This means each level is broken up into three unique puzzles, four if you include reaching the level exit. So if you can't figure out how to get the machine part, you can just try for the costume or the clone seed. Having a choice of puzzles on hand cuts down on the frustration when you can't complete one. Or you could always just complete the level without collecting anything. Like a failure.
Once you've got the essentials down, the game starts throwing in more power ups. Such as turning your clones into bouncing platforms, or giving them the ability to fly. At first, we thought they were there to make the game easier. We were fools. They soon turn a fairly straightforward puzzle platformer into one of the most complex brain twisters we've played in a while.
A typical late game puzzle has you weighing down a platform, turning into a flying Filo, distracting an enemy, hitting a switch, weighing down another platform, then jumping and destroying the first platform so we can create another platform so we have enough room to jump and create new platforms and if you're finding this tough to follow, welcome to the thought process the second half of So Many Me demands of you.
Careful planning, and a lot of trial and error, is your only chance of victory, as the levels start feeling less like solving puzzles, more like building your own Rube Goldberg machines. Some challenges are tougher than titanium nails, but giddily satisfying when you pull them off.
Where So Many Me isn't going to win any awards is in any beauty contests. It's simplistic compared to some of the visual feasts we've been spoilt with from other Xbox One platformers. Where it does have charm is in a surprisingly strong script. It relies on a bit too much meta-humour, but there's lots of funny lines that give So Many Me more personality. Any game that gives you an achievement called 'Fail Your Friends' is going to stand out, especially if someones just added you as a friend on Xbox Live and sees that on your profile.
Younger gamers drawn to the art style and the humour might not be the best audience for So Many Me's wildly escalating difficulty. But puzzle platformer fans will find a witty script, a real challenge and head scratchers that reward you for putting the time in.