Developer: Mike Bithell
What they say: (Thomas Was Alone) Thomas Was Alone is the critically acclaimed indie platformer about friendship and jumping. Guide a group of sentient rectangles through a series of environments, combining their skills to reach the end of each level. Listen to awesome music by David Housden, negotiate obstacles meticulously placed by Mike Bithell and immerse yourself in the characters’ journey with a voiceover read wistfully and amusingly by Danny Wallace.
Discover the story of the world’s first sentient AIs, and how they worked together to, well… “escape” is a strong word. “Emerge” might be better. “Emerge” has an air of importance about it, while keeping a plethora of plot twists and origin stories under wraps. We didn’t even mention the bouncing.
(Benjamin’s Flight) In this Thomas Was Alone level pack, discover the tale of young Benjamin, who goes in search of the Fountain of Wisdom aided by his father’s incredible invention. Benjamin meets a new companion and a familiar face in this story, which takes place in the events leading up to Thomas’s emergence.
What I say: I am so loving that Sony is becoming a new home to a diverse line up of indie titles. And this title is about as indie as they come. The game is, at its heart, a platformer. You start off as Thomas, a square representing an AI program. As the game goes on you meet up with other AI that come in various block type shapes. You can switch control between them on the fly and this is necessary in order to traverse the levels. Different AI work together in different ways as they all have different abilities. The game play is sublime and perfectly tuned. This is one of the finest platformers I have ever played. If that alone was the draw of Thomas Was Alone I would have still been perfectly satisfied. Thankfully it’s not.
Each level starts off with narration telling us about the characters and their motivations. This narration goes a long way in giving personality to, let’s be honest, nondescript blocks. Thomas and all the others do have unique personalities and you really start to feel for them and their motivations for partnering up with Thomas. The story builds and new characters are introduced all the way up to the ending, an ending that very much is up to your interpretation. The only real down side the game has is its length. Despite having around a hundred levels it’s pretty short. But really the game is so compelling that you will not care. It is enjoyable enough to justify purchasing and enjoying it.
The DLC, Benjamin’s Flight, adds another 20 levels to the mix. Benjamin has a unique ability, he has a jetpack! This allows him a greater range of movement, which is good as these levels are much more challenging than the base game. Precision is a must as there are spikes everywhere and hitting them will result in instant death. You also have to ferry other characters around..also through spikes. This set of levels serves as a prequel to Thomas Was Alone and while the ending is a bit of a bummer, it is just as compelling as the main game. Length will be an issue again as the price seems a bit steep for just 20 levels but once again the compelling game play and narration more than make up for it. I cannot recommend this game enough!
Both games are playable on the PS3 and Vita and support cross play and cross buy.
Thomas Was Alone: 9/10
Benjamin’s Flight: 8/10
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