A-MEN 2 by developer blooper team is an oddity in that it embodies the fundamental gameplay mechanics found in retro classics such as Lemmings and The Lost Vikings. Gamers old enough to remember these 16-bit classics will recall how both games paved the way for team-style gameplay that required quick thinking and the use of multiple characters to survive.
A-MEN 2 is based on a similar concept, but instead of using mindless lemmings or Nordics from the Netherlands, they decided to use a group of rough and tough military solders with a variety of skills to get the job done.
Spanning 40 levels of frustratingly difficult puzzles, the player must use their team of crafty brutes to build bridges, move crates and activate squirrel-powered platforms to avoid being captured by enemy soldiers. It sounds simple enough, but it actually isn’t. Your soldiers are restricted by real-world physics, making it impossible to jump from high ledges without dying. You also need to be careful if enemy soldiers are close by, especially if you don’t have a disguise. For whatever reason, they tend to run much faster than your soldiers.
As mentioned earlier, the gameplay is rather challenging and requires plenty of investment on the player’s behalf. Each of your soldiers are capable of specific jobs and they must work together to complete the puzzles they face. Antler (The Engineer) is capable of constructing objects such as bridges to reach high ledges; Aardvark (The Spy ) is a master of disguise who can walk past enemy guards without being detected; Aurelius (The Muscleman) can lift heavy objects such as crates to clear pathways; Atom (The Private) can kill enemies and use his gun on environmental objects; and Anaconda (The Commando) can use a grappling hook to climb ledges or parachute down from tall platforms.
The majority of the game is spent trapping and/or killing your adversaries. While it can be tedious, the Spy can place signs in the ground to redirect his enemies to walk off cliffs, sending them to their doom like lemmings. Atom, the Private, is a bit more versatile as his gun can be used to shoot enemies and boulders that are tied to ropes. When timed correctly, a falling boulder can kill a large group of enemy soldiers or destroy bridges that are blocking your team’s advancement.
Aurelius the Muscleman also has his advantages. When you’re not lifting crates and other heavy objects to clear a path for your team, you can drop them off ledges to crush enemies. It’s not nearly as effective as some of the other techniques available, but it works when you’re in a pinch.
A good example of A-Men 2′s gameplay is during the level ‘Spider’. While using the Commando, you must jump off a ledge and parachute down to a squirrel-powered generator. Once activated, you must use the Commando’s grappling hook to reach the top of the level where the Engineer and a wooden platform are located.
Before the platform can be used, the player must place the Commando on the platform and then select the Engineer to activate a control panel. It’s also worth noting that if you don’t reach a save point before dying, you will have the start level over from the beginning.
A-Men 2′s controls work relatively well despite the complexity of the gameplay. The left analog stick controls your soldiers, while pressing left and right on the directional pad will select your soldiers. Inventory items can be accessed by pressing the Triangle button and then used by pressing R (Right Button). Even though the PS Vita uses touchscreen technology, it’s been an uncommon rule as of late for some titles to completely ignore it. While there are no ground-breaking techniques used in A-Men 2, you can use your fingers in a pinching motion to zoom in on the action. At least the developer took the PS Vita’s touchscreen into consideration.
As a platformer, A-Men 2 by blooper team is a decent game with above average gameplay. And while it won’t win any awards for originality, it will be remembered for its frustrating puzzles and unique approach to the platform genre.
Platform: PS Vita
Developer: blooper team
Publisher: blooper team
ESRB: E10+ (Everyone 10+)
|Colorful 2D graphics and smooth character animations|
|While nothing memorable, the sound track does a decent job of immersing the player.|
|Frustratingly difficult puzzles that require multiple attempts to complete.|
|A-MEN 2 is a diverse, but difficult platform game that may not be for everyone.|