It’s been a very mixed week as far as new games are concerned. We’ve had a big hitter in Devil May Cry 5, some decent titles such as Fimbul and Old Man’s Journey, and some waste, such as Crimson Keep and Blood Waves. That said, where does I and Me stand? Mercifully, it sits comfortably somewhere in that middle ground. Whilst it’s not going to be taking home any awards any time soon, I and Me is a competent puzzle platformer that ticks many of the boxes that a game of this type should. It’s also pleasantly easy to get to grips with too.
There’s little story to be mindful of, however, but even then, much of its charm is simply found in the gameplay. The game throws you into the role of two cats, and tasks you with making it through a total of ninety levels of puzzle-based platforming. These levels are broken up into seasons; Winter, Spring, Summer, and Autumn. The kicker? You’ll control both cats simultaneously, and must coordinate them to their destinations in unity. Naturally, the expected platformer obstacles sit in wait; sharp hazards, deadly falls, and so forth.
The game starts off quite slowly, with no real tutorial in place outside of general trial and error. To its credit, it does teach you the new mechanics that are slowly introduced to keep things fresh, but other than that, you’re left to suss out the majority of the game’s intricacies alone. The crux of play is to guide these cats to their respective picture frames. These can be stationed together, or split apart, but whatever the case, one cat to each frame is the aim of play. Sounds simple, right? Well, it is to begin with, but it soon ramps up.
Most of the puzzles within are quite basic, and thanks to the exclusion of a timer, you’re free to plod along and take things at your own pace. It helps that there’s not much to keep on track of as far as its handling is concerned; movement being tethered to the thumbsticks, and the ability to jump via the A button. That’s that. Here, you’ll not see anything that you haven’t seen before from a puzzle platformer. There’s danger, there’s narrow platforming, and environmental triggers such as pressure plates that aid you in some form along the way.
The difficulty comes from how you maneuver each cat to their frame, and seeing as each cat will simultaneously respond to your commands, and are both typically stationed at different parts of the same level, it soon boggles the mind. This is one reason as to why I appreciate the lack of a timer. Several times I sat back and then wondered how to use the environment to manipulate my cats in such a position that would bypass hazards for both creatures, and see me to success. Something I wouldn’t have done under a counting timer.
The game’s difficulty has a nice curve to it, but it does indeed house some very tough levels later in. Levels that are that tough they’re borderline frustrating and chase away much of the fun. Thankfully, this problem isn’t persistent, but I would be remiss if I didn’t point out its fluctuations. I and Me is all about forward thinking. Where is the best place to split the cats up and take them on their own pathways? How can I trigger that switch whilst keeping one cat in place? How do I move this cat to the other side without the other one drowning?
These are all questions that you will be asking yourselves throughout, and the game does a great job at religiously presenting you with some outlandish, deviously designed stages. Something as simple as running one cat against an object to create a large gap between both cats isn’t the first thought you have, but when it ultimately hits, you get that satisfying “ah-ha” moment and continue onward to the next subtle brain teaser. Moments like this are frequent in I and Me, and it’s littered with satisfying outcomes across the entire board.
The game eventually adds enemies to the mix too, such as hedgehogs. Hell, even sheep become a problem later on. With that in mind, some of these enemies are able to help you; such as the aforementioned sheep, which allows you to bounce higher if you jump on their backs. Whilst that sounds like a seemingly straightforward mechanic, I and Me’s rather isolated level design makes clever use of these tools throughout, ultimately instilling a respectable degree of complexity as a result. It’s a relaxed and steady flowing affair overall.
Whatever the case, the goal remains the same throughout; two cats, two frames, same time. One thing to always keep in mind is that your immediate surroundings are oftentimes both a blessing and a curse. You’ll not only need to avoid the previously alluded to dangers, but also use said obstructions in clever ways to keep your cats from straying off their independent pathways, at the same time as guiding them to their independent goals. There isn’t a great deal of length here. I and Me can be run through in just over an hour.
That said, it’s an hour that’s certainly worth your time and attention. Whilst the game can suffer from some slow moments, it’s never really repetitive due to how diverse and how well each level is presented. I’ve rather enjoyed my time with it, and I’ve especially enjoyed how I and Me is rarely that taxing. The game’s levels, for the most part, take place on a single screen, and they’re quite short-burst when you know what you’re doing. There isn’t much in the way of replay value, but for the price of admission, one run is worth the cost.
The bottom line in all of this is that if you enjoy those sorts of puzzle games that toy with your senses and promote multi-management through controlling two characters, I and Me is going to be right up your street. There’s certainly more robust puzzle games on the market, but I and Me gets a pass on the merit of its distinction. It helps that it’s very family friendly, and although younger gamers may feel out of their depth during the later puzzles, the game’s safe and quirky atmosphere makes it an appropriate choice nonetheless.
One thing that I and Me excels the most at is that of its visual and audio design. The game looks gorgeous throughout, with visual diversity found in its altering seasons. Summer is, as to be expected, lush, colorful, and bright. This is in direct contrast with game’s winter setting, which relays dank and dark presentations. Nevertheless, and regardless as to its point in season, I and Me sports a great amount of detail as far as its aesthetics are concerned. This is further upheld by a score that’s just as charming and equally as varied.
I and Me goes a long way with the few mechanics that it encompasses, putting forward a solid puzzle game that boasts both quality and distinction. The game’s accessible functionality and its charming design makes it an appropriate choice for players of all ages, but its questionable difficulty curve is bound to frustrate the younger audience. Still, when all is said and done, there’s an endearing journey to be found here, if indeed short lived.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.