Originally released on Steam last year, this little pick-up-and-play puzzle-platformer by indie developer Wish Fang curiously wanders its way on to the Nintendo Switch. With its reclined ambience and philosophical undertones, I and Me looks like it would be a great fit for relaxing in the garden on a summers evening. So, do we embrace these little doppelganger moggies? Or leave them staring out at us in the Nintendo eShop window?
The focus of I and Me is as simple as it gets. You take control of two furby-looking black kittens simultaneously moving in sync with each other throughout a series of puzzle focused levels. Your motive is to guide the kittens into their own picture frame to progress to the next stage. In having the ability to do nothing more than move and jump, you have to work out how you can use the environment to manipulate the distance of the felines to successfully get that photo finish.
The game has more than 90 levels spanning across four seasons, and within the small break between each level, there’s a single sentenced narrative that explores the game’s thought provoking question: “If there were another me, observing myself from the perspective of a spectator, how would I regard another me? How would I get along with another me?”
The curious quotes that are strewn through each level actually fit quite well with the whole atmosphere of the game as it rides along freely with the subtle tones of the piano and its pastel storybook-style visuals. You can also find pages that extend its story further, although I couldn’t help feeling after a while that it was Scottish Widows trying to subliminally sell me life insurance. I also had the sudden urge to want to hug my children and tell them I love them, which I found very out of character. Needless to say, I did decide to wear a tinfoil hat from that moment on.
The gameplay is relaxed and slow paced. It’s quite evident early on that the difficulty isn’t going to be too mentally taxing as you progress. I got the sense that developers feared that anything too challenging would break the ambience, so don’t expect any Water Temple-style conundrums here. There are a few head scratching moments at first glance, but it doesn’t take long at all to realise what you need to do. There is a hint system that I tested for the sake of the review that pretty much spells the solution out to you. It does implement a nice charcoal filter as it holds your hand to the front door. So there is that.
Some of the level designs do have some clever little elements that made me smile, and even though I was aware that it wasn’t particularly difficult, it didn’t stop me from thinking that I was a bit of a genius at times. The overall gameplay experience can get a bit repetitive as there isn’t a lot of variety at play here. There are a few elements that stir up the gameplay a bit and do introduce some of the cats’ common enemies of hedgehogs and sheep which look about as aggressive as Paddington bear.
The graphics nicely complement the mood that the game desires to set, although the palette of the background doesn’t change all that much, only really transitioning with each season. It would have been nice to have seen more variety on how they look depending on the time of day just to keep its visual charm. Instead, you are contained to the same background and colour for just over 20 levels before they mildly alter.
The sound and music all work together with the visuals perfectly as the soft melodies of the instruments and the natural sounds of wildlife create a formula of harmonic bliss.
I and Me is a charming and simple little time waster. There isn’t really any replayabilty found in this title unless you have had a bad day at work or have a sudden impulse for self-discovery, as the only real depth in this game is found within its fitting but questionable dialogue.
It’s on common ground with the many puzzlers found on an App Store on your phone which in turn makes it a much better experience played in portable mode with some headphones plugged in. I’m not sure if it’s worth the asking price of £9.99 because of how close it feels to a mobile title, but it would probably cost a lot less than an anger management therapist. That being said, you can’t get angry playing this game. It’s impossible.
Version Tested: Nintendo Switch
Review copy provided by Ratalaika Games