Graffiti comes in all shapes, sizes, and variances in quality. For every breathtaking mural there's a dozen cheap tags ranging from the generic to profane. Similarly, Sideway: New York jumps violently between an abundantly stylish and creative platformer, to a cheap, controller hurling annoying one. Unfortunately, the imbalance often shifts toward the later, and even then the good parts only serve to highlight how frustrating the rest of the game is, which no amount of personality can save.
By now you've hopefully gathered that Sideway is based around graffiti, placing you running and jumping along cluttered walls, shifting from different panes and using parts of the environment to create a makeshift path toward the end. It's a really neat idea that's pulled off with a good deal of success, even when it's more often used for style than a core gameplay mechanic.
This is fine at first when everything is new and bursting with creativity, but Sideway falls on its face about halfway through by being at least twice as long as its content can sustain (which isn't saying much when it clocks in at just around 3 hours). Level designs start to repeat, backgrounds become less interesting as the originality wears off, and the 3-4 track soundtrack just keeps cycling through over and over (it will be going around in my head for days to come I'm sure). It also back loads most of its boss fights, which are easily among the most infuriating and poorly designed of any game I've played all year. Compared to the rest of the game, they create huge roadblocks that I wouldn't be surprised caused many players to simply give up on the game (which might honestly be for the best, as at that point the challenge is only going to keep rising).
Later levels also begin to focus heavily on combat, which is clunky, boring, and by far the worst element of the game. It's hugely perplexing why the developer chose to put so much effort into this one portion of the experience, but it's clear they spent a good deal of time on it and all that's come from it is a lesser game than we might otherwise have seen.
For the first hour or so I was really digging everything about Sideway. Its style is great, the premise original, and the entire package bursting with personality. But the further I got the more it seemed to try and put me off the entire game, spoiling the experience that came before and causing me to rather despise the game by the end. I hope the developer gets a chance to make another game and learns from the mistakes made here, but I won't be disappointed if we never end up seeing a Sideway 2.