I have had Sideway in my library for way too long. I picked it up at a summer sale many aeons ago because I was attracted to its cool aesthetics, and interesting approach to gravity. After having played it, I don’t know if I feel quite the same; were my expectations too high, or was there something else up?
Sideway is a game of the gutters and street art scene. You have been painted into this new 2-dimensional world, where you must interact with the graffiti around you to rescue your best friend.
The aesthetic is quite good, moving through the 2D with a touch of 3D world is quite pleasant and intuitive. The pace at which you unlock power-ups is reasonable, and as such you never feel as though the world is too repetitive. However, it doesn’t feel as finessed as many other 2D side-scrollers; this is noticeable in places where it wants to be pixel perfect, but on the whole is just not fine enough to control well. The mechanics are simple, with a nice appropriate story to put you in the mood to solve simple puzzles and do some light platforming. Sideway would be a solid seven-out- of-ten at this point if it were not for just a couple of things…
Advertising, I hate it beyond all belief. I can tolerate it in small quantities, but as soon as it is thrust upon me I recoil. This game is sponsored, it is just plastered with sponsorship from a well known headphone maker and as a consequence, it comes across as something which I would expect to find in a box of cereal. Additionally, I realised that there are only a small number of hours worth of gameplay, and the mechanics are cheap and simple enough that it creates the impression of laziness. I’m not sure whether Sideway is a game that is sponsored, or a promotional item that is a game.
While this may annoy me, it was the frequent crashes that ended up driving me insane. The levels are long and in many places, tediously unforgiving. At least there are checkpoints, but having to constantly recover from crashes just brought me back to the mindset of a cheap game, that existed to get the brand out there. I still love the aesthetic and art style, I just cannot get past the non-trivial inconvenience of crashes, and the not-so-subtle advertising.