I am pretty sure that this game could also be called “Until You finished Me” since there is simply no chance of stopping once its story got you. Personally, I felt that this game has way too less reviews and should get the support it deserves. Hopefully you might give it a try after reading my whole essay about why I couldn’t stop playing.
UIHY is a gripping pixelart platformer that might challenge your patience. At least that is what it did for me many, many times. The setting is a Blade Runner-like Cyberpunk future where not everything is as shiny as the neonlights that make our town Neo-Kobe shine a lot. The player takes the role of the ARTIST, a talented Hitman, who wants to simply quit his job that has already consumed most of his private space. You might have already guessed that things did not happen according to his plan. His wife Emily gets captured, forcing the ARTIST to take any risks necessary to get her back. He gets his hands on an exoskeleton suit that gives him incredible powers whilst slowly draining his sanity. Using his new powers he wants to free her and take revenge for everything the both of them got into. But like I said, everything comes with a price…
Dying is for free – Game Mechanics
What counts for nearly any other platformer doesn’t pass on UIHY either: play it with a controller. You can play via keyboard and mouse but I hardly recommended that since you have to be precise as possible most of the time, otherwise you will die even more often. That said, I was a bit confused at first. Normally you press the direction + directional upwards + Jump to jump over a gap or obstacle but Until I have You takes it a bit different. Pressing to the left or right accelerates the ARTIST into the pressed direction and if you jump, he simply jumps as far as he cans with his current speed. If you wish to stop running, you simply release the button. I found myself dying more than once because I pressed the opposite key instead just to realise that my avatar is heading into the other direction now. The longer you press, the faster he gets. Pressing boost even increases this. If a gap seems to big, you might have to rely on the ARTISTs special power. Get incredible fast or, in other words, slow everything around you.
The “Slow Mode” is one of many interesting mechanics this game uses but it is also one the main mechanics. Use it anywhere, anytime, even in the middle of a jump – as long as your time bar is filled enough. You might use it a lot at the start but slowly stop exploiting it once you got the second main mechanic, which isn’t nearly as useful as the first one – but turns out to be impressively innovative whilst adding important pieces to the UIHY main story. The ARTIST gets “hysteric” and with that I don`t mean he starts screaming out of nowhere. No, he starts to see things, hallucinates or loses control. It is just so exciting to see how he is slowly trading sanity for power in order to release his wife but it also rises some sort of guilt I can’t fully deny.
So, besides having different mechanics for each level like alarms, hoverboards, colourtesting platforms and many more, there is always a boss at the end of each chapter. I must admit that I did not feel challenged by every single one. Some of them have been surprisingly easy to surpass, once you got the mechanics you need to beat them. I don’t think that this is bad in general. Even if you can beat some of them more easy you will still get how cool some of the mechanics were you had to use. Melting legs, chasing through walls or jumping through Fire Rings?
Graphics? Absolutely Adorable. At least if you like Pixelart and Cyberpunk. I for myself enjoyed every damn level, every boss, every cutscene. The artstyle is just perfect, leaving enough space to add your own imagination whilst making the game look dark and flashy at the same time. What`s adding up is the soundtrack I even listen to whilst writing these lines. It fits just perfect into the game but stands its own if listened separately, too. I’d love to praise graphics and sound even more but that would somehow lengthen this review to an extent even I can`t stand. Instead I’d like to mention the great dialogues and sidekicks you’ll find along the road of your tragical seeking for revenge. You get to know the ARTIST, his past, his problems, his clients and maybe their problems and sad stories and you somehow feel a bit connected to everyone of them – or at least feel sorry.
There is much to love, much to like and a bit to like less. Starting with the small negative aspects I`d like to say that the controls can be punishing at first. I think they are just unique in its way and need to be experienced to feel comfortable with. Secondly, although I liked the structure of every level in general, I still felt that I would have stopped playing after having died for the fifth time at a difficult spot with the checkpoint far away, if the story had been less interesting. But, fortunately, it wasn`t. It is a dark tale of love, revenge and sacrifice that made me feel a bit less happy and a bit more satisfied at the same time for every chapter I had finished. The artstyle is simply amazing, not to mention the amazing soundtrack.
If you are into platformers, Pixelart or Cyberpunk and you simply can’t resist a gripping story that might hurt your feelings, this is the right game for you.
Bonus: The amazing soundtrack is for free!