Thursday, 19 November 2015

App Review No. 94 Thomas Was Alone

Strong Points:
Characters have a real sense of personality (despite being rectangles)
Quirky, loveable graphics
Good gameplay
Good music
Good story

Weak Points:
A bit short
Can be frustrating

In-depth Review:

Release Dates:
iOS: 15 May 2014
Android: 24 July 2014

LHS arrows/bar/accelerometer to move character
RHS button to jump
Colours at side of screen to change character

Thomas was Alone is an indie platformer that moves away from the platforming element and more into the realms of storytelling, using the levels to describe the relations between the characters, from 'Thomas' the first character you meet (a red rectangle), to 'Chris' (an orange square), to James, who falls up. Furthermore, each character has a unique ability in the game which brings a variety to gameplay.

The origin of the characters is told in the opening statement - they are the results of a failed AI development project that went so badly that the programmers began to give them names, as a joke. However, it doesn't seem this way, as each of the characters has a unique and well developed character, defined both from their experiences (in the case of 'Laura') and how they are when they were created, Thomas with his constant observations, and Chris, who seems quite sarcastic and rude, and who doesn't want to be with Thomas, as he appears in every way better than he is.

As the game progresses, you begin to gain a sense of personality from these characters, who at first glance are just meaningless characters, but become real people, with real feelings, and you begin to feel for their plight as they are trapped, and when the unthinkable happens, and a character dies and doesn't return, you feel a sense of loss more like from an RPG or a book than from a platformer.

The music and graphics have a quirky, loveable style that makes you want to play the game more and more. And with each level, a different song with the same style plays, and with each different event, you begin to empathise more and more from these coloured (or sometimes grey) characters. You feel for the architects, who adventure through the world to the end, for the new, 'Gen 2' AIs, who know something is wrong with one of their friends; a traitor in their midst, as well as for the older AIs in the 'Benjamin's Flight' DLC.

Some of the levels can become rather frustrating, as in order to complete them, you have to get multiple correct jumps, and failing just one could put you right back to the beginning. There are also some jumps which require you to double jump exactly right in order to gain maximum height, as well as certain levels that if one of your characters die, you have to restart the entire level.

Overall, Thomas was Alone is a fantastic platformer which causes you to feel for the characters, and gives personality to rectangles. It provides a large amount of interesting levels, however feels a bit short at the end, and could be expanded upon. It does get frustrating in places, but overall is a fun, interesting and emotional game (despite being a platformer).

Rating: 87%

This has been an in-depth review from Thomas (The Stacinator) Bye for now!

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