There’s some real irony in a game about 2 cats who mirror each other’s actions having the exact same premise as another game. In this case, I and Me, a game from Chinese developer Wish Fang which was originally release in 2017, has an almost identical premise to Ant Workshop’s Binaries, released in 2016. Let me be clear – I am in no way insinuating that I and Me is copying the core mechanic of Binaries. The latter, a sarcastic and brutal platformer about controlling 2 coloured orbs at the same time, is quite far removed from the double cat based puzzling of I and Me in both pace and aesthetic. This is more likely to be one of those one off cases in the games industry when 2 different developers come up with similar innovation’s and the same time – like when Infamous and Prototype released within weeks of one another. That being said, if you liked Binaries, I and Me – which has now arrived on consoles thanks to prolific publisher Ratalaika – will be right up your street.
I and Me is a game about 2 cute furry cats that want to both go and sit in identical boxes. Cue the “If it fits, I sits” memes. The kicker here is that both cats move in the same direction and at the same time (at least at the start of the game). Move left and both cats will move in that direction. Jump and they’ll both jump. The idea of each of the games numerous short and succinct levels is to get both cats into a box at the same time without sending one or both to their doom in a pool of water/row of thorny spikes/deadly bee stings/prickly hedgehog/fast moving sheep.
There might be a story to I and Me but if there is, it’s not at all apparent. Each level begins with a line of text in a font that’s an affront on the eyes and difficult to read on the PSVita screen. The one’s I did catch were along the lines of “What if the other me doesn’t like me” and “we complement each other so much”. If you can read the hand writing of a GP, you might be able to uncover what this all represents but it’s not important because it has no bearing on the game play itself.
The first 20 or so of the game’s 92 levels are simple enough. They ease you in gently, allowing you to get used to moving both cats at the same time while navigating towards the boxes that are spaced out around the levels. Sometimes it’s as simple as using pieces of the environment like a small jut up of the platform to stop one cat plunging into some water or jumping over obstacles with both cats at alternating spots. The game soon asks you to understand timing, such as putting a row of spikes above one cat that prevents both from jumping while one needs to travel higher. Then things start to get interesting.
Hedgehogs that move along platforms and turn after a few second of hitting a wall become moving roadblocks for you to avoid. Coupled with the existing environmental dangers and things get a little tricky, testing you to leap over them but only in certain spots. Then sheep are introduced which will trample a cat if they move into them but act as a bounce pad if you land on their woolly hides. Then there’s bee hive turrets which track to the nearest cat and fire off an occasional insect in your direction, testing you to keep one cat close to the turret but safe from harm while the other goes about getting to a box that is otherwise protected by it. Portals are added into the mix, transporting a cat from one spot to another instantly as well as switches that move platforms while you’re standing on them. Lastly, a magic wand is added which changes the game entirely, changing the cat movement in your ‘other self’ to the exact opposite of the direction you’re sending them. The last third of the game combines all of these aspects into some fiendishly designed puzzles that can be frustrating yet deeply satisfying.
On the whole, most of I and Me is designed to test the player and does a very good day of doing so. There is however, quite a lot of repetition. There’s 2 levels that look almost identical and a number of others that are very subtle twists on the same theme.
As well as getting to the boxes, I and Me adds 20 additional collectables to the mix so that the completionists among you will have to go the extra mile. Getting to these items, represented as a floating page, adds a whole new level of difficulty to some of the levels, asking you to pull off tight platforming, perfectly timed switch presses and finding alternative solutions to the original test.
If you’re really stuck on a puzzle in I and Me, there is a hint system. A press on a shoulder button triggers a short video which gives you a quick demonstration on how to perform at least some of the level. I’ll be honest, I had to use these hints a number of times to overcome a hand full of difficulty spikes which buck an otherwise smooth learning curve – but not all of the hints are actually helpful. One of the hint videos actually shows a failed attempt at the level, sending a cat splashing into the water, before resetting and showing you how to overcome an incredibly obvious section then ending before getting to the actual puzzle. I know this is a first world problem when I complain about this but not having contextually relevant hints, only showing you how to overcome the start of each level, rather than a problem you might be having in the latter half, is a disappointment. More annoyingly, triggering the hint video resets the puzzle to the start, so should you accidentally tap a shoulder button (which ol’ fat fingers here did a few times while playing in bed) you lose all your progress.
Thankfully, the art style and soundtrack go a long way to easing the irritations that these niggles can cause. Presented in a charming, almost classically watercolour visage with a calm and serene tune backing the whole game, it’s a pleasing game on the ears and the eyes. The art style does work against it at times, making spikes hard to read on screen but one accidental fail is all it takes to notify you they’re there.
I and Me is a game with some truly intelligently designed, short and sweet puzzles levels that are unfortunately surrounded by a number that aren’t. When this game is at it’s best, it’s challenging and deeply satisfying. When it’s at its worst, it’s repetitive and frustrating. If you liked Binaries, or platform based puzzle games that require a lot of focus but come with a chilled soundtrack and a pleasant art style, I and Me is certainly worth a look. And maybe a second look too.
I and Me is available now on PS4, PSVita (reviewed version), Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC.
Developer: Wish Fang
Publisher: Ratalaika Games and Indienova
Disclaimer: In order to complete this review, we purchased a copy of for the game. Please see our review policy for more information.
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