Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Just Beat: Thomas Was Alone

Thomas Was Alone is a neat little game that you can get in the Humble Indie Bundle for whatever you want to pay for another six days (And you get a bunch of other games along with it, too!). It's an under appreciated platformer in which you control various sized rectangles who all have different abilities. In order to complete a level, all of the rectangles have to enter a portal at the end of a level.

This is Thomas. Thomas is currently alone.

Now, I'm not normally one to go out of my way and praise a platformer. Sure, I was raised on Mario just like any other kid born around the 90's, but I typically detest skill based platform games and rarely play them for more than a few minutes before uninstalling them in a rage.

Thomas Was Alone is delightfully different, though.
Now, this isn't because of some mystical way of platforming that Mike Bithell, the developer, seems to have come across. In the platforming department, it's rather dull. You jump across deadly water, stack or combine your various shapes to help the entire crew get across, and curse at your screen when you have to redo another section because you died right before hitting the checkpoint.

What sets Thomas Was Alone apart from most other platformers is its surprisingly engrossing story and lovable characters.

Characters are presented solely through their thoughts,though conversations are implied through their inner dialogue. This is surprisingly entertaining.

Everybody reacts differently towards other characters, has their own ideas and preconceptions about their existence, and are individuals in every sense of the word. It surprised me that I became connected to these quirky little rectangles, and found myself plugging through the platformer bits (Which aren't super difficult, I'm just a pansy) just to be able to see what would happen next and how the characters would react to it. Every sentence of dialogue was worth the few minutes I'd spend juggling up to seven or eight characters through a level, and encouraged me to finish the game.

Which is why I found myself surprised when, ultimately, I did finished the game. Thomas Was Alone now has the dubious position as the only 2D platformer I've ever finished by myself, and it's solely because of its awesome story.

The fact that it only took me 3 hours to beat it probably helped.

I can't say it's worth the $9.99 price tag on Steam, since it's only a few hours long at most and replayability is rather low in linear story driven games, but be sure to grab it on the Humble Indie Bundle and pass some of the money to the developer. Not only do you get Thomas Was Alone, you get a myriad of other awesome games. A good Humble Bundle doesn't always come around, but this one is full of gems.

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