Thomas Was Alone is a puzzle-platformer developed by Mike Bithell for Mac and PC. The game takes place on a minimalist two-dimensional plane, with stark black surfaces and a moody electronic soundtrack. Players control a number of different characters, which are all simple coloured quadrilaterals with varying degrees of movement speed, jump height, and other special abilities. With the ability to switch characters on the fly, players must get each shape to it's corresponding exit to complete the level, often helping each other by creating platforms, traversing spike pits, pushing switches, etc. The game is comprised of 100 levels, broken down into 10 chapters of 10 levels each.
While aesthetically simplistic, the game places a large focus on narrative. None of the coloured blocks ever speak, and instead a narrator (voiced by Danny Wallace) tells the story as players move through the game. The coloured blocks are all given names and personalities, and as they help each other through the game, develop attachments and aversions to each other.
The game begins with Thomas becoming aware that he exists. As he moves through the game, he meets other characters who have also had a similar awakening. At the beginning of each chapter, quotes from various fictional software engineers and corporate CEOs are displayed on-screen, each one talking about how certain self-aware artificial intelligences emerged in the systems they were creating. It quickly becomes clear that the AIs they're referring to are the coloured blocks themselves, and their quest to escape.
The eponymous character that starts off the game. Thomas is a red rectangle with a chipper attitude, and has average jump height and movement speed. After connecting to the Internet for 12 seconds, Thomas decides to put his newfound knowledge to use and lead his friends to the Creation Matrix, so they can become Architects and reshape their digital world.
Chris is a orange square with a more dismal outlook on life. He has a low jump height and slow movement speed. He begrudgingly comes to befriend the optimistic Thomas and the other characters, and even cheers up a little after developing a quiet romantic relationship with Laura.
John is a long yellow rectangle, and has a very high jump and fast speed. He is always eager to show off his better abilities, and thinks of himself very highly, but learns humility towards the end when he realizes that his jump is dwarfed by Sarah's ability to double-jump.
Claire is a large blue square, whose jump height and speed are rather slow, but she has the extra ability of being able to float in water, where all other characters die instantly. This causes her to think she is a superhero, and view the world in superheroic terms (such as suspecting that the pessimistic Chris might secretly be her nemesis waiting to betray her).
Laura is a pink rectangle laid on its side. Her speed is low and her jump is awful, the worst in the game, but she has the added ability to act as a trampoline for other characters, giving them a boost to higher areas. Laura's useful ability was previously used as bait by the Pixel Cloud, who consumed other AIs that came to her when Laura wasn't looking, leading her to think they left her, and develop abandonment issues. She comes to be truly happy when she realizes her new group of friends aren't going anywhere, and even returns Chris' quiet affections.
A doppelganger to Thomas, this green rectangle has the same movement speeds as him, but falls up instead of down, travelling along the ceiling of levels. James has previously been made fun of for his reversed gravity, and thus is rather shy and introverted, though the time he spends with Thomas and the gang, the first AIs he meets that befriend him instead of mocking him, causes him to open up to the others a little.
A purple rectangle smaller but faster than all the rest, Sarah has the special ability to perform a double jump. She thinks herself superior to all the others because of this. Initially, she seeks to access the Internet through the "Fountain of Knowledge", but after Thomas earns this honour instead of her, she realizes maybe she's not as superior as she thought, and decides to help him accomplish his goals.
After Thomas and the gang enter the Creation Matrix and change the world, the last few levels of the game are played from the perspectives of a new group of AIs, all of whom are various shades of grey.
Grey is a tall medium-light rectangle with John's proportions and approximate abilities, and the first one to discover the "shifters" that allow the grey AIs to temporarily take on the special abilities of the first seven AIs. After learning of the exit portal created by the Architects, Grey vows to become the first and only AI to emerge into the outer world by sealing the portal behind him after he escapes. Along the way, he encounters Sam & Jo, and lies to them to help him reach the portal, saying he needs to rescue a group of friends, but he immediately begins plotting ways to betray them.
A medium-dark rectangle the height of Laura and the width of Chris, Paul is a wise old man, and apparently blind, which means he has the poorest abilities in the game, moving at Claire's sluggish speed and with Laura's terrible jump height. Paul has been around for a very long time, and knows an awful lot about the system the AIs are trapped inside, which he views through an almost religious mysticism, describing an Internet Port to Sarah as the Fountain of Knowledge, and describing the seven Architects like gods who sacrificed themselves to open the final portal and allow future AIs to emerge into the mysterious outer world.
Sam is a dark rectangle whose size and abilities are identical to Thomas', and until the world was remade, he was content to live in an out-of-the-way area with his romantic partner Jo, somehow unbothered by the splitters. Once the world is remade, he leads a reluctant Jo to explore the abilities granted to them by the shifter fields.
Sam is a light square with the size and attributes of Chris. She was happy to stay in the area she and Sam called home, and wasn't happy when Sam dragged her away to explore the shifter fields, but as they progressed towards the exit portal, she began to suspect that they were following a mysterious purpose and maybe they were right to leave.
A group of five identical light squares half the size of the diminutive Sarah who share Sarah's speedy movement speed and Thomas' middle-of-the-road jump. Team Jump always act in unison, giving them a great ability to cooperate to overcome puzzles and explore the world, and they look down upon the idea that "individuals" can accomplish more than they can as a team. After Grey's betrayal, Paul enlists the aid of Team Jump to help him catch up to Grey so Paul can stop him from selfishly sealing the portal to the outer world.
Bithell initially self-released the game on PC & Mac from his own website on June 30, 2012. The game was eventually released on Steam on November 12, 2012. Everyone who had purchased it previously was given a steam code to download it there, which contained the addition of Steam achievements and controller support.
On April 23th, 2013 in North America (April 24th in Europe) Curve Studios released a port of the game onto the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita, which supported Cross Buy. In Europe, PlayStation Plus members were given the game for free at launch. Additionally, a new add-on titled "Benjamin's Flight" was made available exclusively for Sony platforms, but was eventually released for free on PC as well.