Thomas Was Alone. This game did not sound enticing at all when it was first presented to me as a review copy, but I had a few days off from work so what the heck I would give it a shot. Since it was coming to Wii U (my platform of choice), I decided it was worth a look and… wow! I am glad I gave it that look–a solid four hours of looks actually.
Content Warning: Blocks die in water and when they hit spikes however, they instantly respawn.
For a game that is just platforming blocks, the story is truly the selling point. You start off as Thomas, a red rectangle who has some deep thoughts.
Wait… How do you know his name is Thomas? How do you know a block thinks?
Well, the entire game is narrated by Danny Wallace. He does a fantastic job at making you care. In fact, his narration is what gives everyone character and drives the plot. Without him, the game would be a simplistic platforming game with nice music. You do meet other blocks who each have their own distinctive personalities. Needless to say, the story was so good and ended on a note that makes you wishing for a sequel.
The premise here is quite simple, guide your block(s) to their end goal to complete each level.
Simple right? Well… not always.
The game makes you use every block given in each level to help each other. Some are stronger than others, yet they all need each other to advance to the end goal. The level designs get more complex as you go along, but at no point do they get so hard that you want to rage-quit. They are challenging but most of the time fairly straight forward.
Despite this, it is truly the plot and the rewarding feeling you have at the end of each level that make you want to play just one more. I finished the game in four hours, however, I saw many people online casually beat the game in three.
Graphics and Sound
They are very simplistic, like the gameplay, yet… charming. There is truly nothing special about any of the graphics. Sure, the shadows are nice and the later floating pixels are kind of cool… but the rest of the game is just simple looking.
What really stands out here is the music. It really sets the tone. Combine that with the narrator’s voice and you have a winner in the audio department. In fact, despite being able to play off-screen with the GamePad, I still found myself not able to multitask while playing this game.
Usually I can watch a show and play Mario Kart 8, but here the narration demands your attention and the soundtrack really creates an amazing atmosphere. As a bonus, there is a director’s commentary… for every level! This is a bonus that makes you want to replay the entire game again just to hear his thoughts on each level. Thumbs up to you, good sir.
Overall, Thomas Was Alone was a fantastic experience and my favorite indie game this year by far. While the graphics are nothing to write home about, the gameplay combined with the music and narration make a mind blowing experience. I can truly say that years from now I will still look upon this game in a fond manner.
Reviewed on Wii U. Review copy provided by Curve Studios.
The Bottom Line
If Thomas Was Alone is available on a platform you own... Then purchase and play it immediately.