We're all invited back to the strange town of Thimbleweed Park for a free new little spin-off. Over the weekend, Ron Gilbert and pals released Delores: A Thimbleweed Park Mini-Adventure, a new story standalone story which grew out of a prototype for Gilbert's next game engine. And it's free for everyone to play, whether you own the original or not. And if you do want the original, that's discounted on sale right now too.
Set the year after the events of Thimbleweed Park, the Mini-Adventure stars Dolores on a little holiday from her game development job, picking up part-time work taking photographs for the local newspaper. So off you go, checking in with the old gang, seeing what's new, and snapping away. As part of Gilbert's fiddling, this has a new UI too, which a straightforward right-click menu replacing ye olde wall o' verbs.
"As I write this on the 9th day of May in the year of 2020 the Pandemic is far from over," Gilbert wrote in Saturday's blog post. "Different people deal with isolation, fear, social distancing and hoarding toilet paper differently. I built a game. It helped keep me sane."
He explains that he started rebuilding the Thimbleweed Park engine back in March "with no real goal in mind, it just seemed like something to do and I had a few ideas about UI I wanted to explore." Then it turned into a game prototype, and four other folks joined in, and soon they had themselves a new little game mostly assembled with old Thimbleweed art and sounds.
That does somewhat shame my big lockdown accomplishment of watching six seasons of tattooing reality show Ink Masters.
If you want to get technical, Gilbert has written more about the engine rebuild.
Our former Adam (RPS in peace) did have a lot of praise for the original in his Thimbleweed Park review, with some reservations.
"This has been a tricky review to write because some of the things that I love about Thimbleweed will almost certainly be off-putting to other people, and some parts that fell flat might well be your favourite moments," he said. "It's a dense game, which means that if one joke fails to land, there's almost certainly a follow-up that just might, hot on its heels. The bigger picture – which I'm unwilling to reveal because this begins as a whodunnit but eventually becomes a whatisit – ties everything together, making a tidy package of all the loose threads and awkward gags."