I and Me is a simple puzzle platform game from publisher Ratalaika Games and Chinese developer Wish Fang. It was previously released on Steam but is now here on the Nintendo Switch. When I say it’s a simple game, I mean it.
In each level you control two cute black fluffball cats simultaneously. If you press right, they both walk right at the same time. You press jump, they both jump. The goal is to guide both cats to separate picture frames at the same moment. The whole controlling two characters at once has been done before and this isn’t doing anything to change the concept. It’s not groundbreaking but it still has its moments of cleverness. In order to get your cats to where they need to be, you need to use the environments to your advantage. You can use barriers to move your cats further apart or closer together, switches to move platforms and even abuse sheep by bouncing on them to reach higher places.
It’s nice. There’s not a whole lot of variety though. The 90 or so levels are divided into the four seasons and each season generally introduces just a couple more mechanics to the table. I and Me relies a little too much on the same kind of puzzles over and over for my liking. That’s not to say it’s bad, it’s just that there really could have been more.
Each level is pretty small and, if you know the solution, can be completed in a matter of seconds. Thankfully outside of the first dozen levels or so, you’ll generally have to stop and think about a stage for a while. Some can be tricky and will need multiple attempts to solve. That said, it’s still not the longest game in the world. You will easily finish this within a couple of hours and you need to take that into account as to whether it’s worth it for you.
What I do like is that, although the solutions themselves aren’t too varied, the pace in which they have to be solved is. On some of them you can leisurely take your time, thinking about the solution, whereas others require you to spring into action almost immediately as enemies come your way.
If you do get stuck on some puzzles then the game is on hand to give you the solution. Pressing the X button at any point will show you exactly how the puzzle can be completed, in almost a flashback-like style. The game even suggests that you check the solution if it thinks you’re starting to take the piss solving a stage. iIt’s surprisingly generous of the game to do that, but it also makes it very accessible.
The art style is rather lovely but it does become slightly repetitive after a while, when you see the same things over and over again. It’s very reminiscent of the well received Braid but with less variety. I like the hand drawn style especially in regards to the cats who just look so lovey and fluffy. They remind me of the soot gremlins from Spirited Away and My Neighbour Totoro; and any game that’s art style reminds me Studio Ghibli is instantly in my good books.
Story is supposed to be profound but actually it comes across as complete toss. Between each stage a quote pops up, as well as being able to collect 20 pages that are in some of the levels that reveal more of the backstory. I don’t even think it’s been lost in translation from the original Chinese. With myself, being rather familiar with Chinese entertainment and their ideas of profound stories… it’s probably just a bit naff. Thankfully, the story is the last reason you would play a game like I and Me.
Something that I think really adds to the game is the incredibly sweet yet melancholic soundtrack. Some really nice string and piano instruments, brought down with quite a haunting cello make it a great part of the package. I don’t know if the music was bought, or composed specifically for this game, either way it fits in well.
Overall, I think I an Me is perfectly fine, relaxing puzzle game that will keep puzzle fans happy. While it does have one very interesting game concept, it clings on to it for dear life and doesn’t let go. Yes there are 90 levels many of which can provide a head scratching challenge, but when it’s basically the same gimmick over and over again then it may not be to everyone’s taste. I enjoyed it for it’s limited appeal, and others will too, but don’t expect something exceptional. It’s just nice.
Game provided by Ratalaika Games