A-Men
Gameplay 7
Graphics 7
Sound 7

It will take you a while to conquer the 40 levels of platform puzzles in A-Men but it is worth it if you are up for a challenge. The gameplay feels like something out of the 16bit era, but with a nice coat of modern paint. While some players might relish the challenge it is also bound to frustrate those blessed with less patience.

Gameplay: If you are in the mood for a challenging puzzle platformer this is not a bad choice.

Graphics: Old school 2D visuals with a unique style.

Sound: The music isn’t too bad but the voice acting can be a bit hit or miss

Summary 7.0 Good
Gameplay 0
Graphics 0
Sound 0
Summary rating from user's marks. You can set own marks for this article - just click on stars above and press "Accept".
Accept
Summary 0.0 Terrible

A-Men

Developer: Bloober Team | Publisher: Bloober Team | Release Date: 2014 | Genre: Action / Adventure / Indie | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

When six factory workers accidentally unleash an army of android soldiers while fooling around, they decide the best course of action is to blow everything up. Although successful in rigging the whole factory with explosives they make their escape via helicopter without the detonator or fuel. After crash landing they find the gameworld overrun with a-droids and make it their mission to erase their mistakes.

A-Men is a puzzle platformer and if the whimsical storyline didn’t already clue you in, the game doesn’t take itself very seriously.  The developers were inspired by classic titles such as Lemmings and The Lost Vikings, but instead of copying these games directly, they fused the best elements together with quite interesting results.

The goal for each level is to kill a set amount of A-droids and then make your way to the helicopter. The A-droids, which look like Napoleonic soldiers, wander around aimlessly most of the time, but if they spot you they will make every attempt to kill your character with their bayonets. You have to use the environments, which are usually littered with traps, to dispose of your enemies if you want to make it to the chopper in one piece. The A-droids all look the same, but apart from the stupid models there are also ones that are a bit smarter and trickier to kill.

New characters are introduced gradually which is a good thing as they each have three different skills at their disposal which takes time to master. For example, your spy can disguise himself and redirect A-droids with signs while the commando has a parachute and grappling hook. You also have an engineer who can dig holes and build bridges as well as a private who can shoot his rifle and toss grenades. Finally there is the muscleman who can provoke enemies or toss his fellow A-Men up to higher ledges. You have no control over which A-Men you are given for each level and to make things trickier most of their skills have limited uses and have to be replenished from crates that dot the levels.

Some levels only provide you with one character, but most of the time you will have access to between two and four characters. You have to constantly switch between characters in order to progress and to complete a level all the characters must safely reach the chopper. Your characters can die from one hit and if anyone buys the farm the mission fails. There are save spots on each level, but these require the points earned from killing enemies to activate so it is quite possible to find yourself without enough points to save your progress. The game doesn’t hold your hand and puzzles can be frustratingly trial-and-error at times so expect to restart some levels quite a few times. If you are a fan of this old school style of gameplay you will have a blast, but it can be annoying at times.

The game has 40 levels spread across four different worlds so completing everything should keep you busy for a while. Just killing the required amount of A-droids to finish a level isn’t too hard, but the game grades you for each level and for the best marks you need to finish the bonus objectives as well. These range from finishing within a certain time limit, to killing all enemies and even some really tricky ones like not being spotted. The bonus objectives pack quite a challenge but are completely optional.

The 2D art style of the game is just as old school as the visuals and brought back fond memories of games like The Lost Vikings. You view the action from a side-on perspective and levels are filled with pits, traps, dead ends and platforms. There is even some nice parallax scrolling and levels are bursting with color. The points you earn from killing enemies can also be used to customize your characters using the in-game shop so if you prefer your commando dressed in pink there is nothing stopping you. The audio is nice with some military sounding tunes and voice acting for the main characters. The voice acting is a bit goofy, but I guess it fits the game. Each character has their own little quips they utter while you direct them and some like the engineer with his snarky remarks about the visuals, playtesting and repetitiveness can be a bit annoying. I have to admit that the developers are quite brave to include a character that basically criticizes the game the whole time.

The controls work well enough considering you have to constantly switch between characters, although grabbing or standing close to edges felt a bit dodgy. Since your characters can’t really win a direct confrontation with the A-droids it’s important to position them out of harm’s way when switching between characters. I liked the fact that you can use binoculars to view exactly what a button or lever connects to but obviously you have to be standing next to the button or lever to do so. There are situations where you can become trapped or misuse something requiring a restart which is not something you see often in games anymore. Some players will relish the challenge and enjoy the fact that it takes careful planning to complete a mission while others might resent the repetition involved.

It has been a while since I have played a game like A-Men and while it is not perfect it does have its moments. There is quite a sense of accomplishment when you reach a helicopter with all your men after picking off the enemies one by one, but there are also times when one careless mistake cost you the level just as the end is in sight. If you are up for the challenge and find the art style appealing then by all means give the game a shot. It is packed with hours of challenging gameplay and will provide quite a few head scratching moments. It is definitely not a game that is going to appeal to everyone though, so make sure you know what you are getting yourself into before shelling out your cash.

*Review originally published February 2014.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows 7
  • Processor: Intel Pentium / AMD Athlon XP 2.0 GHz
  • Memory: 1 GB RAM
  • Graphics: 128 MB
  • DirectX: Version 9.0c
  • OS: Windows 7
  • Processor: Intel Pentium / AMD Athlon XP 2.0 GHz
  • Memory: 1 GB RAM
  • Graphics: 128 MB
  • DirectX: Version 9.0c

Related posts

The Secret Order 3: Ancient Times

The Secret Order 3: Ancient Times

The Secret Order 3: Ancient Times offers more of what made the previous installments so much fun to play. It doesn’t make any drastic changes to the formula, but instead polished everything up a bit and switched to a more fantasy theme. It is still not perfect and probably won’t sway players who aren’t already fans of the genre, but once again provides a couple of hours of solid entertainment. Gameplay: Veterans might find it a bit easy, but there are some nice puzzles to solve. Graphics: More colorful and detailed than previous installments. Sound: The sound effects are a highlight, but the music and voice acting is mostly good as well.

The Secret Order 4: Beyond Time

The Secret Order 4: Beyond Time

Sarah Pennington continues her epic time traveling saga in this fourth installment of the popular hidden object puzzle adventure series. This time Sarah finds herself stranded when her time machine is destroyed and has to deal with the sinister Dragon Clan while planning an escape. Beyond Time leaves the fantasy theme of the previous game behind for a mixture of Egyptian and Aztec elements, which results in good looking as well as interesting locations to explore. The bonus chapter, which is set in the Realm of The Dead, is also a nice addition. Although it is probably not the best place to start if you are not familiar with the series, for fans this one is a no-brainer. Gameplay: Slower paced, but features plenty of nice puzzles and mini-games. Graphics: The setting allows for some very interesting and unique scenes. Sound: Great use of sound effects and the music as well as voice acting isn’t too shabby either.

DoDonPachi Resurrection

DoDonPachi Resurrection

Not everyone enjoys navigating a hail of bullets with pinpoint precision while retaliating with excessive firepower, but if bullet hell shooters are your thing then you can’t go wrong with DoDonPachi Resurrection. The story will probably be lost on most players and the game can be very daunting at first, but it packs a wealth of modes and options. The action is relentless and chasing highscores is undeniably addictive. This Steam version does suffer from a couple of minor issues, but overall it is a great example of the genre and one that all shooter fans will want to add to their collection. Gameplay: The action is relentless, but very addictive. Graphics: Good, but the playing area is rather small and mostly filled with bullets. Sound: The soundtrack is fast paced and upbeat while the sound effects deserves to be cranked up high.

Gahkthun of the Golden Lightning

Gahkthun of the Golden Lightning

With its Steampunk setting, great characters and intriguing storyline it is easy to get sucked into this visual novel. However, it is not perfect as the pacing slows down considerably in later chapters and too many superfluous characters with little impact on the story keep getting introduced. Stick with it though and you’ll find a great visual novel with characters that are truly memorable. Gameplay: Some chapters drag their feet, but the overall story is quite captivating. Graphics: Great visuals, but the relatively low resolution is disappointing. Sound: Full Japanese voice acting, great sound effects and very nice music, but some tracks repeat too often.

Depths of Fear :: Knossos

Depths of Fear :: Knossos

There are plenty of things that I can fault about Depths of Fear, but at the end of the day and I had a lot of fun playing the game and it kept me hooked right to the end which is all that matters. It is an impressive piece of work considering that it was made by only one person and definitely provides a unique and memorable challenge. The excellent atmosphere and addictive gameplay makes it worth the effort. Gameplay: A nice atmospheric blend of stealth and action. Graphics: A little rough, especially the animations, but this doesn't detract too much from the experience. Sound: Great creature sounds and a very nice synthesizer based soundtrack.

Appointment With F.E.A.R

Appointment With F.E.A.R

If you are a fan of the original role playing gamebook you will love the way that Tin Man Games brought it to life. You'll still spend most of your time reading, but the great illustrations and comic book style presentation along with the soundtrack brings everything to life. The storyline is pretty straightforward, but infused with plenty of humor and parodies which makes it more entertaining. The different powers and story branches also give the game a lot of replay value. Gameplay: Like reading a visual novel and making the key choices yourself. Graphics: No animations, but some nice comic book style art and bold colors. Sound: The music and sound effects make the game feel more dynamic.

Leave a comment

three + nine =