PSN Review – Sideway: New York

October 17, 2011 Written by Cameron Teague

The PlayStation Network has become a home to unique titles in all shapes and sizes since it opened its doors. The latest one to claim the title of unique and PSN exclusivity is Sideway: New York, a graffiti-puzzler from Sony Online Entertainment. Armed with a few cans of spray paint and a boombox full of shoulder-moving tunes, Sideway: New York is primed and ready to take you on an exciting training exercise on proper graffiti work. Read on below to find out if this is a course worth spending your $10 on.

Sideway: New York presents you with a fairly straightforward premise – save your friend Cass from turf leader Spray. To do this, you must enter his world, which just happens to be inhabited by his paintings that have come to life and want nothing more than to stop you. Thankfully, your character Nox has been taught the mystical arts of Spray-Fu (my term), and you are ready to take the fight to any wall you can find.

In the game, your character sticks to whatever wall he is on, allowing you to move from wall to wall, or turn everything crazy when you leap from a wall onto the roof. To try to explain this further, when you get on the roof, that now becomes your background. The movement between buildings and from building sides to rooftops is seamless, with the game playing much like any other platform out there, as you jump from platform to platform, making your way through the level. There will also be areas of the world where you will have to spray in platform’s so you can stand on them, making your way up a building while spraying the one ahead of you. Just be careful though, as after a few seconds the spray will fade away and the platform will disappear. The biggest issue with the platforming come with the double jump, which can be frustrating to nail every time, leaving you frustrated as you miss the easy jump and die.

As you make your way through the levels, you will come across enemies trying to block your path. These enemies shoot eyes at you, make copies of themselves, or run at you like a bull. Each one takes a different method to defeat and when they do fall, they do so in a splash of paint. You will have a full move set to deal with these baddies, such as your paint kick or paint bombs that you can throw at them. All of these moves are extremely colorful and satisfying, as big fights turn into a collage of sorts, with paint flying everywhere. Playbrains does a good job of providing enough variety in the enemies you face, promising that you will use your entire move set to take down levels. There is some amazing about being able to approach a corner and throw your paintball around the corner of the wall and hit an enemy on the adjacent wall.

Sideway can be played as co-op locally with a friend but isn’t as great as you would think. As you try to make your way quickly through levels with your friend, it will focus only on the person playing as Nox, so if the 2nd player falls behind or gets too far ahead, they will disappear and re-paint themselves next to Nox. This can be helpful if your friend can’t get past a part, but becomes a hindrance when the person riding shotgun finally makes it through a section, only to be brought back to Nox. Sadly, the only real benefit to co-op is when one person dies, the 2nd player can get to a checkpoint and spawn them back in. They can also come in handy during boss battle, which are a fairly weak aspect of the game. Boss battles break up the freedom and rhythm of the game, forcing players into a single way to defeat a boss, which you usually repeat three times.

Presentation is where this game really shines, with a beautiful art style and soundtrack. The world is extremely vibrant, with a rainbow of colors and everything on the screen practically oozing with colorful detail. With every kick or jump of your character, paint sprays out in each direction, leaving a trail of beautiful destruction in your wake. The soundtrack adds even more style to the game, as the beats might have you setting down your controller and start dancing, even if they do repeat far too often.

Sideway: New York is an extremely vibrant and unique experience that is well worth spending the $10 on. Yes the game is too short, clocking in at around 4 hours to complete, but sometimes it is not about length and instead about the pure fun you have. I found myself sitting there with a friend and just raving over and over about how beautiful and fun this game was, as we were moving from wall, to roof, to bridge, as only a piece of graffiti could do. The boss battles are a let down and playing co-op isn’t as interesting as it should be, but this is one of those games you need to experience. Your first kick full of paint will suck you in and once you slide down a wall, leaving a trail of paint behind you, there will be no way to walk away without a big grin on your face.

PlayStation LifeStyle’s Final Score

+ Sexy and Fun Experience, Full of Color.

+ Unique Platforming Brings Game to Life, Along with Killer Soundtrack

– Coop and Boss Battles are Disappointing

8 out of 10