Platform(s): PC, PS3, PS Vita
With critically acclaimed indie title Thomas Was Alone coming to Sony’s console and portable, Hidden Level reviews this unique puzzle platformer.
Thomas Was Alone is one of the most surprisingly charming and clever games to hit the Playstation Network and one that surely couldn’t have been possible to make at any other time than right now, when indie developers have the most freedom to exercise their creativity. It’s a puzzle platformer with a distinct British wit that brings life to the most simple of game designs.
The aim of the game is to manipulate the skills and abilities of little brightly coloured rectangular shapes in order to reach portals and complete each level. There are 100 levels to beat, and each one tests your intellect and problem solving skills, as well exercising your old school platforming knowhow. Each little shape has their own unique ability, such as being able to jump high, navigate small gaps or float on water, and it’s up to the player to best make use of their talents in order to overcome the increasingly tricky challenges.
- The self-aware commentary really makes Thomas Was Alone special
Although puzzle games are in no short supply on digital platforms, Thomas Was Alone is distinct from all the others because of the way it instills character and emotion to faceless objects. The game personifies the little quadrilateral shapes, giving each one a normal human name like Thomas and Claire, and a personality that reflects their shape and abilities. This, coupled with humorous narration by Danny Wallace, takes what is already a highly competent puzzler and moves it onto a whole new plane of greatness and makes it truly special.
Danny Wallace’s narration is very much like Stephen Merchant’s show-stealing performance on Portal 2, proving that more British actors should lend their voices to games. It’s extremely funny and adds a charming little backstory and personality to the different coloured rectangles. It makes you care about the little shapes you’re controlling and gives each level a purpose and take on a greater meaning beyond another task for you to solve. I wasn’t surprised when I found myself rooting for the colourful shapes because Danny Wallace described them as if they were little people, rather than objects I manipulated on a screen.
- Show-stealing narrator Danny Wallace
Thomas Was Alone is more than just a puzzle game, but a unique and memorable story told through brilliant voice acting. It cleverly adds personality to a usually humanity free experience to give depth and character. A mind-bending puzzle game, but also a heart-warming journey with a spirit as colourful as the shapes you control.
Now imagine if Tetris had given the blocks names like James and Laura too…