A moving puzzle-platformer with great characterisation
Thomas Was Alone is one of the best games this year, and I have a review from ABC2’s Good Game to thank for its introduction to me. Thomas is distinctively a puzzle-platformer, and you’ll need both intelligence and skill to beat the game, though I wouldn’t say that it’s particularly difficult.
The most immediate thing you’ll notice about it, aside from its minimalist (though beautiful) graphics, is the narration of Danny Wallace, who you might think sounds very similar toWheatley, from Portal 2, but is actually the voice actor of the sarcastic Sean from the Assassin’s Creed series.
What you’ll get out of the game, looking back on it, is a very powerful and emotional experience. We take emotion from facial gestures, movement, intonation, usually, but there is none of that here. Yet still, the multitude of rectangular characters in this game are still very charismatic and distinct, all thanks to their role in gameplay being perfectly matched to Wallace’s narration of them. There’s a message about teamwork and self-reliance here that is easily universal, and supported by a more intricate backstory through quotes at the beginning of each sequence, suggesting that there is more to this than meets the eye.
The gameplay is excellent, and the graphics are good (I particularly like the shadow effects). There are some interesting mechanics at work here, perhaps none that have never been seen before, but not all together like this. Still, if it was just a gameplay without story there would be none of the moving characterisation that makes this game stand out, bringing it from above-average to absolutely dazzling. Highly recommended, 4.5/5.