Developer: Mike Bithell
Platforms: PlayStation Network (PS4, PS3, PS Vita), Xbox One, Wii U, Microsoft Windows, OS X, Linux, iOS, Android
Rarely has a game involving squares and rectangles been so full of life and character. Thomas Was Alone is exactly that, a game in which all you do is move around a bunch of differently shaped rectangles and squares around, and it’s just awe-inspiring.
Given that, as a Playstation Plus subscriber, I was able to buy Thomas Was Alone at a hugely discounted price, in hindsight the purchase was a real no-brainer.
Thomas was Alone – known in the business as an indie (not developed by a big game studio) puzzle platforming game – is a tale of differently shaped and coloured squares and rectangles that find themselves having to jump around geometrical worlds in order to get to their shaped portals. It is easily summed up by its tag line: “Thomas Was Alone is a minimalist game about friendship and jumping and floating and bouncing and anti-gravity”.
Created by British game developer Mike Bithell, Thomas Was Alone is full of wit, charming aesthetics, beautifully rendered worlds, ethereal sounds and so on. The game is brilliantly narrated by English comedian Danny Wallace whose narration makes you feel entirely immersed in the story of squares and rectangles jumping around.
Spikes! That was new. Claire avoided them, she decided that they were most likely her kryptonite, and not the rubbish red kryptonite either, the proper radioactive green stuff!
The game’s strong point is its ability to make you care for its characters; believe it or not, these little pixels (or AIs) are full of character. This is down to the way they jump, their individuals skills – the ability to jump higher, to swim… and of course Danny Wallace’s narration, which really makes you want to continue playing and find out what happens to the little seemingly inanimate objects. Each shape is also given a name and a backstory by narrator Danny Wallace, which adds so much character to the all-jumping, occasionally swimming and gravity defying geometrical shapes.
However, Thomas Was Alone does have one flaw; it’s repetitiveness. After around 2 hours of jumping around different stages, you do need a short break, but then quickly want to get back into the incredible world that Mike Bithell has created.
Each new stage brings in new abilities and new puzzles to solve which keeps you on your toes but, despite its rather short four hour completion time, the gameplay did become slightly monotonous at times. Oh yes, and you will die, a lot – Dark Souls reference – especially when the spikes and the water start to enter the mix.
Thomas Was Alone is full of charm, character, wit and wonderful puzzle solving. If you are a fan of gaming, and having your brain teased by wonderfully crafted puzzles and platforms on which to jump, then pick this game up for a couple of quid: it really is worth it.