Developer: Dejobaan Games
Your brain screams as you hit terminal velocity, as the neon lights of neo-Boston rush up to meet your inexorable descent. With nothing save a wingsuit and the forces of gravity at your back, you hurtle between buildings, slip through rotating fans and kiss the side of a floating skyscraper. Surely you can't survive this one? Surely the city will claim yet another base jumper as a smeared trophy on its psychedelic walls? Just as your retinas begin to peel pack under the visual assault, the landing pad hoves into view - and you slam on the parachute even as your teeth grind into a fine powder. Three stars. Damn. Try again.
This is what every single level of AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! For The Awesome feels like. After A Reckless Disregard For Gravity released back in 2009, Dejobaan Games have decided to issue a semi-sequel with a Christmas cornucopia of new jumps and content... and it's absolutely brilliant.
In case you're unaware of the premise, For The Awesome casts you as a base jumper who has to hurtle through insane cityscapes using a first-person perspective. Points are acquired through 'hugs' and 'kisses,' which essentially encourage you to stay dangerously close to buildings and surfaces as opposed to taking the easy way out. Fragile birds, fans, score plates and ridiculous stunts also await your perilous descent. The more risks you take, the more needles you thread, the higher your score and greater the reward you'll receive. In turn, netting high scores allows you to unlock newer and harder levels. It's ruthlessly addictive and beautifully visceral; difficult yet compelling enough to keep you involved for many hours.
You can also unlock a few nifty toys to increase your scoring potential. The Flip It! glove allows you to give the 'thumbs up' to supportive fans or deploy an obscene gesture against crowds of protesters, and a spray can lets you tag certain buildings for extra points. An expresso powerup will likely save your life more than once by slightly slowing down time and giving you enough breathing space to nail the most difficult part of each jump. Combining these elements with the insane core gameplay leads to a deceptively deep experience that's eminently replayable.
Basically, For The Awesome provides you with infinite opportunities for awesomeness. Whether you're brave or skilled enough to accept them is entirely down to you.
For The Awesome is also a perfect example of a game that looks absolutely outstanding despite packing little in the way of graphical prowess. Taken empirically, the experience is certainly very dated in terms of texture work and boxy geometry despite a few new shader upgrades... but the gorgeous psychedelic art design elevates it into the realms of visual perfection. It's a colourful, sumptuous and glorious assault on the senses, and the unbridled sense of speed has to be felt to be believed.
As well as the 82 original levels, For The Awesome ships with a clutch of brand new and extremely difficult jumps. Many of them feature powerful downdrafts that vastly increase your speed, though pleasingly, some of the longer descents feature checkpoints that mitigate the aggravation of just missing the landing. These new stages are also accompanied by an unfolding plot of sorts surrounding the struggle by anarchic base jumpers to free the Earth's populace from a tyrannical government; instantly forgettable fluff to be sure, but well worth a listen to.
There's a case to be made that For The Awesome can get fairly repetitive, and that Dejobaan Games could have done more with their premise. But there's nothing wrong with developers refusing to dilute their core experience with disparate gameplay elements (see also), and as mentioned, it's visceral and addictive enough to turn repetition into compulsion. Considering the enormous amount of value contained in the package, anyone craving a new and exciting experience should make the jump as soon as possible. Heh.
- Absolutely packed with value
- Amazing sense of speed
- Incredibly addictive
- Story and setting are slightly squandered
- Graphically dated, though you probably won't notice. And it doesn't matter.
The Short Version: AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! For The Awesome is... awesome. If you've yet to take the plunge - in any sense of the phrase - it's high time you did.