Looks can definitely be deceiving.
So Many Me is an adorable puzzle-platformer that is bursting with personality from the first minute. Even with its two-dimensional cutesy art style, it’s apparent the developer Extend Studio is a fan of cinema. Like a good drama, So Many Me starts with its billing up front while you play. It’s a nice touch, and really helps you get into the adventures of Filo. The main character, Filo, is a small blob who was just looking for a meal when he stumbles into an adventure to save the world. It’s fairly cliched, and it knows it; the game is very self-aware, and often addresses the crazy stuff that is happening–without breaking the fourth wall.
Through the course of your adventure you will rescue other ‘me’ who will follow along and mirror your leader-me’s actions. These slimes have funny names such as “Me Too” or “Silly Me” and personalities to match. Each slimes’ appearance can be customized with various faces, ranging from simple frog eyes to a horrifying monstrosity called “Grimm”.
Gameplay is easy to pick up. By pressing a button, your active character will turn to stone, creating a platform for the rest of your group to stick to or stand on. There are various berries of different colors that will give your stone different abilities; for example, red berries turn your stones into bouncing platforms, and yellow berries turn your slime into a giant light source, which lures the attention of enemies. My personal favorites are the blue berries that turn you into a boxing glove that inexplicably floats upward. You can also transform your cluster of slimes into jelly creatures of varying skills at certain points in the level.
On their own, these abilities are cute and simple, but when combined they allow you to get past even the most complex puzzle of enemies and obstacles. Speaking of enemies, there are a variety of them. From the lowly foot soldiers and dogs to robotic turrets that can lock on and kill you from a great distance away. There are obstacles like spikes and doors that require keycards, but the most ubiquitous obstacle is a simple flower. These flowers spray pollen that prevents you from turning to your different forms, which forces you to puzzle out different ways of distracting or navigating around them. There are also a variety of switches, levers, and platforms that you must press, flip, or ride on to reach your objective. This forces you to ration out your heroes, which can be frustrating. Many times I found myself throwing my slimes against obstacles repeatedly until I brute-forced out a solution.
The act of turning your ‘me’ to and from stone takes some getting used to–the controls are a bit floaty. Thankfully, the penalty for death is low. It checkpoints almost constantly, and respawning takes no more than a second. This is a very good thing, because you will die A LOT. In the later levels, I was dying dozens of times to get through an area only three or four screens wide.
This brings me to the most disappointing aspect of the So Many Me: the bosses. One of my favorite aspects of platformers is experiencing a new boss, figuring out how to overcome it it, and executing what’ve you learned. Unfortunately, the boss battles brutally punish your mistakes. You may figure out “the trick” to a boss in a few minutes, but to win you generally have to repeat it 4 or 5 times. This may not seem like a lot, but when you die in a single hit, it can be extremely frustrating to start the entire boss fight over from a single error. One boss took me over half an hour to beat, even though the actual victorious fight itself took less than 5 minutes. It’s a shame, because I think the cute art style may lure in some casual gamers who may never be able to finish it.
Another issue I have is the games reliance on taking your squad away from you. After spending seven levels of a world expanding your slime-team one at a time, it’s disappointing to start the next area with just one or two. I understand why, with more teammates it’s much easier to cross gaps and climb edges, but I felt it was a tad lazy to artificially increase the difficulty by removing the selling point of the game.
The rewards for completing levels is varied. Each level has three optional items to collect, of which there is a variety. These can range from a new ‘me’ to join your posse, a new customization item for your slimes, or an artifact that gives you a new ability or changes an aspect of the game. You’ll breathe a sigh of relief when you get the artifact that allows bullets to pass through you, but you’ll recoil in horror when you see “The 9th Rifle”, which replaces all standard enemies with rifle-toting versions. All of these relics are toggable, so you can adjust to your liking. It’s neat, and they are a fun reward for your troubles.
So Many Me is adorable. It’s clever. And it’s punishing. If you are looking for a fun puzzle platformer that’s easy on the eyes, I highly recommend So Many Me.
[+Adorable][+Quirky][+Jellysaurs!][-Frustratingly difficult at times][-Losing your slimes in new worlds is a chore]