Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Pocket Review - Thomas Was Alone

I picked up Thomas Was Alone almost as an afterthought. It was part of Sony's 14 for 14 sale on PSN a while back, and I grabbed it along with Spelunky and Lone Survivor. It was the last of the three that I tried and the one that I enjoyed the most. I never expected to find characters in a game where you control geometric figures, let alone well-developed characters, but I did. And it was great.

Thomas Was Alone is not that long of a game, about three or four hours total, but that's OK. It's paced well enough that those few hours fly by and it doesn't wear out its welcome. You control a team of shapes in a platforming environment and have to get each unique "character" to a specific spot on a stage in order to move on. This means swapping between each of them and using others as platforms or for leverage to make it through, as each shape has skills and limitations that must be taken into consideration.

The title character Thomas is a rectangle with decent jumping ability, but his cohort Chris is smaller square with lesser jumping skills. This, in turns, makes Chris pessimistic and distrustful of the world, where Thomas is more bright-eyed and cheerful. It also means that Chris is going to need a lot of help getting around. So yes, there are characters in Thomas Was Alone, and they are really well-defined in line with their abilities. Claire the superhero, gravity-defying James, and the elite Sarah are all shapes (technically they are all AI, but they really are just shapes) with personality, and it helps to add another level of depth to this puzzle platformer. The narrator gives them life, and even though the dialogue is brief only offering a few lines each stage, it's enough to help you care about the characters.

It all comes down to fun, and Thomas Was Alone brings that by offering up puzzle stages with a decent enough challenge on top of the backdrop of sentient geometry on an adventure. While a little on the short side, it plays fantastically on Vita and was totally worth the $2.50 I paid for it. It's not on sale at the time of this writing, but if you're looking for another charming platformer on Vita, you can't go wrong with Thomas Was Alone.

Recommended? Yes. Though simple, I really enjoyed the puzzles and clever dialogue.
Enjoyed By? Anyone looking for a quick puzzle adventure game with a lot of personality.

This game was played on Vita via a PSN code supplied by the publisher.

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