Released: March 2018

Formats: PS4 (tested), PC, Xbox One

Hardcore platformers. You will either love their challenge or rage quit out of them in five minutes flat. Occasionally though a few of them can give you enough of a carrot to keep you coming back for more and to some extent “Where Are My Friends” does this – but the game is going to make you mad. Very mad.

wamfriends01
Where Is My Patience would be a great subtitle for this maddening platformer

The 2D platformer is split into two sections of the game. The first revolves around wheeling your one-eyed guy around his spaceship hub. Lonely, and in search of his friends you’ll have to solve some icon-based puzzles and fetch quests to open up the next bunch of hardcore platform levels in the game. The pace is slow, sedate and the artwork bold and colourful, but its a methodical and relatively simple connect the dots to do… and then the real game kicks in!

Zooming right out to simple platforms and a ton of colour matching portals, you’ll be jumping, rolling, dropping and missiling your way through portals across five worlds. At every turn or jump, there seem to be lasers there to punish you and catch you out. When you first play a screen you’ll probably die a few times but learning through dying is the process which Where Are My Friends trades in. You might get a bit further, or simply not at all before trying to work out the pattern to the confusion and frustration around you.

wamfriends02
Some of the puzzles are cleverly put together puzzles which you can learn to conquer by trial and error

Thankfully, the game is generous with its respawns and usually doesn’t leave you with too much to do all over again which means sometimes you be rewarded for that one moment where things go half to plan. The controls are relatively tight which is a must for these types of games, although I found sometimes that the collision detection would sometimes preempt a death from a laser just before the laser turns on. Most of the time I’d have died anyway, but occasionally it felt unfair.

In some ways, I feel unfair for reviewing a game I haven’t completed but I feel like I will never get to the end in my lifetime and if I did, it would be through fudging it and not through skill. More importantly, I didn’t feel like I personally was going to enjoy the slog. This is a game that will appeal to its core audience, but others best go in eyes wide open – you will rage.

wamfriends03
Your limit to progress in the game is purely down to a mix of dexterity and some luck

Positives

  • Really nice soundtrack
  • A real challenge for both understanding each rooms puzzle and then executing it
  • Frequent close respawns means you will eventually make progress but…

Negatives

  • …I’m not actually sure if being so hardcore is actually fun or not
  • Occasional collision detection issues

Conclusion

Whilst I didn’t personally enjoy it, I can see Where Are My Friends clicking with those who are better skilled than I am at 2D platforming and who actively look out for mad challenges. It’s not quite Eyri’s Action in terms of unfair rage – but be prepared to scream.

You can see a video review below:

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