AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! is quite often a bollock-rocking adrenaline ride. It's a game about throwing yourself off an impossibly high ledge, and plummeting past buildings on your journey towards the ground.
The game uses a claustrophobic viewpoint and some ever-present speed lines to really express the stomach-churning gravity of the situation. It's made all that more intense by having you tilt your entire screen to move and zip through tight spaces.
But while your first leap is about split-second decisions and instant reactions, going back and getting a high score requires a completely different kind of thinking - and is all about putting yourself in harms way.
For example, getting close to an object nets you big points (a kiss, in the game's barmy terminology), while sticking near a building during your descent will earn you points while you stay close (hugs). Smashing through plate glass, too, will boost your score.
You can also earn points for graffiti-tagging government buildings, giving a thumbs up to your fans and flipping off your critics. And you'll get a heap of points for deploying your parachute and landing without turning your bones into a gooey paste.
Aiming for high scores is the true lifeblood of Aaaaa!!! Figuring out the best possible route for earning a glut of points, and then actually pulling the stunt off, is when the game sings.
High-scoring areas are often hidden in tight squeezes, between rotating fan blades and near areas of dangerously complicated architecture, where one ill tilt will end your game. It means going for a five-star ranking is a constant edge-of-the-seat thrill - no matter how many times you've tried the level.
But for a game that's all about gunning for high scores, this ungoogleable base-jumping sim doesn't ensnare you in an addictive grasp. In fact, it more often keeps you at arms length.
Take the end-of-level score screen. It's an ocean of different numbers, breaking down your seven-digit score into kisses, hugs, fans, critics, plates, stunts, bonuses and tags. You have to hunt through the text to actually find your ranking. Compare that to the massive 3D stars that explode out of your iPhone after ever Angry Birds level. Or the orchestral Ode to Joy at the end of every Peggle stage.
Just to rub it in, there's no "retry" button. You've gotta quit back to the menu, and load the level up anew. The menu itself is pretty unintelligible: there's no easy way to see which levels you've played, let alone how many stars you've earned. This might seem like a small slip-up of interface design, but it does serious damage to keeping you in the app.
Which is a shame. The controls are effortless, the game has a zany indie personality (which has the quiet decency to bugger off when the actual game starts playing) and the electro-dystopia backdrops are fun to hurtle past at a few thousand miles an hour.
But I never quite sunk my teeth into it, unlike so many other dangerously compulsive games on the App Store. Getting high scores is where Aaaaa!!! works best, but it rarely capitalises on that thrill.
VideoGamer.com Score7 Score out of 10
- Developer's personality shines through
- Intense, adrenal thrill ride
- Tilt controls work perfectly
- Not especially habit-forming