Movement is one of the many aspects of video game design that has been endlessly pored over. SEGA is notable for building its entire former empire on experimenting with the dynamics of speed; almost every Nintendo IP, from Mario to Kirby to F-Zero, considers satisfying and characteristic traversal a priority.
With high-octane games coming back into vogue as the PS5’s SSD drive makes load times negligible, I’ve been itching to find comparable games to stop the gap between now and the releases of Project Athia and The Pathless.
Enter “AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! — A Reckless Disregard for Gravity,” a game in which you hurtle yourself off floating buildings, dodge other floating buildings, and try to get to the ground in one piece. Its name is as fun to say as the game is fun to play.
In “AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! — A Reckless Disregard for Gravity,” the primary goal is that of racking up a ridiculously high score for a five-star rating. This is done in a large number of ways: falling through score plates, staying close to buildings (earning “hugs”), coming within close proximity of as many buildings as possible (earning “kisses”), gesturing to groups of bystanders, hitting the odd wayward bird, spray-painting certain buildings, flying through small gaps between buildings (“threading the needle”), and deploying your parachute before hitting the ground. Earning high star rankings yields “teeth,” the in-game currency used to unlock new levels and videos. Put simply, it’s what would happen if you turned “Clustertruck” 90 degrees, froze most of the trucks, and made all of said trucks into deadly pinball bumpers.
“AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! — A Reckless Disregard for Gravity” (I love this name so much) has a similar aesthetic to “F-Zero GX”: a flurry of bright lights and dark surfaces contrasting with each other and rushing by at a blazing pace. The crowded techno look is admittedly among my favorite styles, and still holds up against the simple lights and polygons of “Clustertruck” or the stark genericism of “Pilotwings Resort.” The soundtrack isn’t very memorable or distinctive, but can be easily replaced with a Discord call or music, turning the journey to five-starring all levels into a slower-burn one; frankly, I’d say it’s the only weak point in the game.
There is a great deal of variety, novelty and action in “AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! — A Reckless Disregard for Gravity.” Some levels diverge from the standard ruleset altogether, like the ones where you descend a mountain or the ones where you topple any buildings you hit. There are several absurdist videos to unlock, including one with sarcastic instructions for de-bristling pigs and another that informs you what to do in case of a freak time-travel accident. Samuel Clemens (aka Mark Twain) is mentioned several times throughout the game, and a bizarre sense of humor pervades the entire experience. The whole thing feels like a time-capsule from the Oughties, in a good way — the aforementioned aesthetic, the compressed soundtrack, the menu made of cubes, and the era-specific brands of online humor and reference, with no real fourth wall included, are all nice aspects, especially given the years “AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! — A Reckless Disregard for Gravity” has had since its release to build up novelty.
“AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! — A Reckless Disregard for Gravity” frankly deserves more attention than it gets. It’s got interesting theming, it has no competition save some CS:GO Surf maps, it’s a solid score-chasing experience, and it costs two-thirds of what “Clustertruck” does to buy its expanded version, “AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! — For the Awesome,” which has 30 more levels than “Clustertruck” and a far greater level of challenge. If you want a replayable game with soul, look no further than “AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! — A Reckless Disregard for Gravity.” OK. That’s eight uses in this article. I count that as a success.
Gaget is a student in Fairbanks public schools, and has developed a number of free games. He is a neutral game reviewer.
IF YOU PLAY
Platform: PC, iOS
Internet Usage (accounts for download size): 1 GB
ESRB Rating: N/A
Release Date: 9/3/09
Genre (if applicable): Platformer/Simulator
Developer: Dejobaan Games