You, Filo and Me
2D puzzle platformers have always taken up a large majority in the gaming world, and more often than not, the successful ones have brought something interesting to this vast genre. So Many Me is no exception, as Extend Studio (A.R.E.S. Extinction Agenda, Jigsaw Mansion) have created a quirky game mechanic inspired by games such as Braid, The Lost Vikings and Portal, among other classic puzzle platformers.
So Many Me sees you playing as Filo, a little green blob with beady eyes and a slightly sassy attitude, who is the main playable character. A basic run-down of the story is as such: in the beautiful world of Xio, one of many smaller pieces of a much bigger world that has broken off into orbit, Filo finds himself in a crazy adventure to save the world from an ancient evil presence; though he is not alone. One cannot accomplish such a gigantic task single-handedly and so Filo, despite his protests, is aided by the least likely candidate in avoiding hazardous spikes, monsters and being pushed into a pit by the manifestation of a train in the form of a worm. This is where the main gameplay mechanic comes into effect: Me. No I don’t mean myself; I am referring to the clone life forms born from Filo.
The Me aspect allows Filo, upon collecting Ark Seeds during his journey, to acquire more clones all with a different personality and name which in turn makes platforming and completing puzzles that much easier. Just having a whole army of Me is not enough. Filo and the Me possess a variety of abilities to help them complete their quest; the most prominent and earliest skill to discover is the ability to transform into a solid block and then be recalled back to the main group. This ability makes tasks such as hopping across wide gaps and activating pressure plates, among other puzzles, interesting and at times complex.
These are not the only abilities at your disposal, however. To keep your brain ticking the game throws new challenges at you with different transformation abilities each chapter. The key to not only completing the game but unlocking every last bit of content requires a mastery of every one of these skills.
Another interesting ability these diverse and adaptable little blobs have is the skill to utilise Gene Splicers. They are capable of creating interesting and powerful creatures to assist them through their journey, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Take the dinosaur for example: with its powerful tail and weight it can smash through blocks with ease, however, its weight also causes the problem of it not being able to jump very high. Combining transformation abilities with Gene Splicing is yet another puzzle you will come across in So Many Me.
There are also other challenges awaiting you, such as flowers that spew out toxic spores to stop your advancement to the next level. What do these troublesome floras do exactly? Well, they make it so that any transformation power utilised within the emitted spore’s range is unable to be used; it may seem quite a problem when you must rely on transformation powers constantly, though ways around it soon become available.
The world of Xio itself is as lively and vibrant as you can get, without causing severe headaches; the exotic, colourful landscapes are captured well and are accompanied by funky, weird creatures and a cosy soundtrack by HyperDuck Soundworks, the very same who worked on Dust: An Elysian Tail and Scrolls. As you are absorbed into the fitting ambience you must traverse across a number of different worlds to beat a boss at the end; these worlds range from a tranquil forest at sunset to a high-flying sky fortress.
This game may appear really cutesy on the outside, similar to the MMORPG MapleStory in the style department, with its use of adorable monsters, be they good or bad, and a sense of charming vibrancy. However, don’t let looks deceive you as this game will not go easy on you. On the inside you have a puzzle-based game that puts your brain to work as you figure out how to overcome the challenges thrown at you. Whilst the main pathway from the start to end can seem to be simple there are many hidden surprises that take more time and effort to find, such as the alternate costumes Filo and the Me can wear and collectable items you can trade-in for new skills like a higher jumping power, that require you to take a step back and analyse your surroundings in finer detail.
So Many Me harbours a mysterious playfulness in both its storytelling and design as its amusing dialogue can be enjoyed by both children and adults. It is your typical, yet hilarious, puzzle platformer with copious amounts of quirkiness and vibrancy and a cute cast of playable characters you can customise to make them your own. Be it a dino, ninja, Frankenstein or ferret to even an army of freaky geeks. The choice is yours.
However, it is not only Filo and the world of Xio who need help. Extend Studio has turned to Kickstarter to allow their game to become the best it can possibly be. Kickstarter, for those who do not know, is a crowdfunding website which allows developers to ask the public for assistance in funding, which in turn allows them to continue creating a more solid product. A link to So Many Me‘s own personal Kickstarter page can be found here.
Whilst So Many Me is approximately 80% complete for PC/Mac/Linux, nevertheless, Extend Studio want as many people to experience their creation as possible. They have hopes of the game finding its way onto the Wii U, PlayStation Vita and even the PlayStation 4, and it can only happen depending on how much funding the team acquires through Kickstarter donations.
With their Kickstarter fundraising only having just over a week left they have accumulated over 175 backers and have gathered just over $4000 of their $22,000 goal. It started in November on the 12th and so ends just before Christmas on December the 16th. Whilst their primary goal is enough to finish creating the game itself they have bigger plans if they beat their target and can focus on adding even more content to So Many Me.
Extend Studio have stated: “We love So Many Me, and we want to not only deliver the best possible gaming experience, but we want as many players as possible to be able to try it for themselves.”
“With Kickstarter and your own feedback, however, the possibilities for that last 20% are near-endless. With your support, we have a chance to not only finish the game, but to make the entire game better. We’re not just talking about polishing bugs — we’re talking about adding new material, new gameplay, and even brand new mechanics to the game!”
So whilst there are checkpoints to how much of a complete game So Many Me can become, there are also rewards and prizes for backers: from desktop backgrounds, a downloadable soundtrack, t-shirts, an A2 poster signed by the whole x10 team, a Filo figurine, a Filo plush toy and even a special Kickstarter-exclusive Me costume to use in-game. A list of how much you must donate to receive such items is listed on their Kickstarter page and ranges from $2 or more to $3,000 or more. There are also free downloadable costumes from the ‘Dream-Build-Play’ costume pack featuring character costumes from: Dust: An Elysian Tail, Blocks That Matter, Weapon of Choice and more.
If the project is funded and everything goes ahead as planned So Many Me is set to be released in the first quarter of 2014. To find out more about both the game itself and their Kickstarter progress check these out: their Kickstarter, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and IndieDB.