Secrets and curses. No monkeys.
In Thimbleweed Park [official site], few things are what they appear to be. The game, which reunites Ron Gilbert with his Maniac Mansion co-designer Gary Winnick, is a point and click comedy-mystery that looks like a relic from the past. Or, more accurately, like memories of the past; it has handsome lighting and a level of visual detail that actually fills in the blanks that memory often papers over.
Attractive as it is, should such pixels please your eye, it’s the quality of the story and the puzzles that really count. On one of those fronts, Thimbleweed eventually finds a way to go above and beyond anything I expected from it, but the combination of broad jokes and mystery-thriller sometimes creates confusion and frustration in both the narrative and the puzzling along the road.
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Getting piggy with it
It’s time to walk the streets (well, street) of mid-80s New York as a down-on-his-luck patrol officer, handing out parking tickets, and er, handing out some more parking tickets. But! But handing out parking tickets while people all around you shout racist and sexist stuff, because it’s set in the ’80s! It’s Beat Cop [official site]. Something something Senator, something something diamonds, something something parking tickets. Here’s wot I think. Read the rest of this entry »
The 5175th series of Planet Earth
A trickle of wholesome GIFs has been tantalising us with post-apocalyptic platformer Rain World [official site] and its adorable protagonist the slugcat for some time now. It’s out tomorrow and I have been hopping and swimming and munching my way through its dripping, humid world of predator and prey over the past week to tell you wot I think. First: I am certain it’s going to become a cult hit with a crowd of hardcore, mystery-loving obsessives behind it. But secondly, it has also left me with the impression of a badly missed opportunity. Equal parts astounding and hands-tearing-out-your-hair frustrating, this adventure, like the slugcat itself, is a bit of a mix. Read the rest of this entry »
A trip through nature
Future Unfolding [official site] is a game about discovery and delight. It’s a dreamlike world which encourages you to play with the environment as you feel out how to make progress through the foresty wilderness. At its best it lets you learn how to progress without feeling like you’re being taught or led. But I also noted times when that feeling of exploration and play fell away and I ended up hugging the walls of an area, combing the trees for a missed pathway or point of interaction. So I cannot give an unequivocal recommendation, but as the game benefits so much from players going in knowing as little as possible I’m hoping this introduction gives you a sense of whether you might enjoy it.
The full WIT is after the jump… Read the rest of this entry »
More than meets the eye
Nier: Automata [official site] is unpredictable, from beginning to end(s).
What begins as a robot-smashing action game with gargantuan bosses soon becomes an open world RPG, then a bullet hell circus nightmare with confetti and corpses, and then something else entirely. To describe all of the things that Automata encompasses, even in vague terms, would be to spoil its greatest asset: surprise. For that reason, I’ve avoiding the specifics of almost any of the wonderful and horrible things that happen. This is important.
Let’s stick with the basics then. Automata, at its best, fuses Platinum’s mastery of stylish action to a framework that works as both a tour and deconstruction of various genres, and a story both stranger and more interesting than it first appears. It’s awesome. Read the rest of this entry »