5xMan is an action/puzzle game that plays on the now-familiar concept of controlling multiple characters one at a time. You play a team of five guys, each in a stunning single-color one-piece jumpsuit (is that a Louis Vuitton?!), and work your way through each stage. Make it as far as you can with one guy, then switch to the next to see what more you can do, opening new paths for subsequent team members as you go.
Passageways are often blocked by doors that are, naturally, operated by buttons and switches. Some are simple toggles that stay in operation after you touch them. Other buttons require you to tap them several times, while still more need constant pressure in order to work. This is where the multiple characters come into play. Need access to the blocked hallway up top? Have one guy stand on the switch for several seconds, and when you pass through the same area with another team member, slip through the crack while the shadow version of you is standing there. Simple!
While most games with this replay theme tend toward short, one-trick puzzle levels, 5xMan is more of a marathon in nature. Each team member has a time limit to explore the multi-screened level. When you switch to the next guy, you can't go back to the first, lending a sense of permanence to your actions. You actually have to strategize to make the most of your limited time and resources, as one mistake and you'll probably have to start all over again.
5xMan's strength is also its weakness. Because the game relies on strategy and luck for the challenge, you'll often have to use trial and error to complete levels. When you start a new stage, for example, you're never quite sure what to do, so you just run around and hope it all turns out right. Only after you've spent a turn or two do you see the trick for gathering all the coins, and by that time it's most likely too late.
A short, entertaining platform puzzle game that takes a familiar concept and slides it into a new light. A nice use of the replay theme and a respectable game on its own!