Thomas Was Alone is the epic tale of a little quadrilateral that stole not just my heart but yours too. This game has been awarded the best indie game of the year and quite rightly so. If the consistently great puzzle platforming wasn’t enough then the narration will keep you playing, or the thrill of meeting a new friend and learning a new ability will encourage you to just keep on gaming.
Danny Wallace spins a world of magic throughout this game and turns a little quadrilateral into something/one you actually care about; he gives him a name and a purpose. Thomas finds out his purpose through exploring the world and seeing it change around him, but without the narration this would be just a little red block moving around on the screen. If this isn’t enough, he also creates a brilliant camaraderie story between the other shapes that Thomas meets on the way. This game has a genuine feel good factor about it. It’s a tale of Thomas who was technically a glitch in a system, friendship and teamwork. The narration also works as a tutorial as well. Danny Wallace will give you hints and tips throughout the game as well as little pop ups that will appear when you press certain buttons to keep the story going.
It’s not just the narration that makes this game great; it is also the complex level designs. Every quadrilateral has their part to play in the game, one can jump further than the others, one can float, one can fit in small spaces etc. The sheer variety this adds to what you can have to do in this game means that it will never get boring.
The gameplay is simple, you can move left and right and then you have your special abilities which mainly involve some form of jumping or other characters jumping on you. The graphics are just as simplistic. The backgrounds are mainly in a monochrome style and the only really bright colours are the shapes themselves. I really liked this style as your focus is mainly on the characters, each one a different colour, and you can switch easily between which shape you want to control by just a press of a button.
Thomas Was Alone spans about 100 levels divided into 10 chapters. There is DLC available which adds another 20 levels to the game and four new characters. The DLC is hard! You now have a quadrilateral with a jet pack…and spikes everywhere. This can only lead to disaster. The DLC takes on it’s own charm with a father – son duo. This is incredibly cute and adds to the on-going themes of friendship and teamwork.
As the game progresses, so does the difficulty of the levels and the amount of quadrilaterals you need to use to complete it. There is also the introduction of ‘Shifters’ little grey blocks that have the ability of one of the main characters. There are essentially the bad guys of the game and serve to disrupt your journey and make it harder for everyone involved. The difficulty curve is immense and will have you scratching your head or shouting at the screen in places.
I’m proper chuffed that this game has been award Indie Game of the Year and is in the short list of the Midlife Gamer Game of the Year. It has most definitely earned its place through the sheer imagination that this game has brought to the board. I recently learned that it has inspired other indie game developers to make similar games and who doesn’t need more mind-bendingly fun puzzle platformers with such a simple premise?!