|...until he made some friends.|
How do you get somebody to care about a group of brightly coloured quadrilaterals?
That's the question Thomas Was Alone poses. On first glance, it would be easy to pass this off as one of the many, many faux-artistic puzzle platformers that followed the incredible success of Braid. But give it some time, and you'll be treated to a clever and heartwarming experience.
|Each block has unique properties.|
Visually, it's a typical indie title - minimalist graphics. But that all adds to the charm, and here we get into the meat of Thomas Was Alone. You may have noticed I referred to the blocks by names, and with genders. The reason for this is Thomas Was Alone's brilliantly quirky story. Through an almost children's storybook style of narration, Danny Wallace (perhaps most famous for being That English One in the Assassin's Creed series) tells a tale of how each of these blocks come to meet one another, and he gives them personality. Thomas is alone in the world and looking for a friend; Christopher is grumpy but slowly opens up to his comrades; Claire has body issues but grows to accept her usefulness when ferrying her pals over water obstacles. What could have been a game where you're given differently shaped blocks with different properties and are told to complete level after level becomes a lovely quest full of character. It's witty as well - Danny Wallace is no stranger to comedy, and he adds humour where needed without ever stepping over the line into parody.
|The end goal is to get each shape into its respective white outline.|
It's a shame the puzzling wasn't just that little bit more complex in the later stages, as the difficulty does remain at a fairly low level throughout. Whilst that does lend itself well to the quaint storyline, it does mean that Thomas Was Alone is an all-too fleeting experience. Savour it while you can, as it is a short game as most indie titles are
Final Verdict: A great experiment in storytelling that is ultimately successful - Thomas Was Alone makes you care about coloured blocks. That's an achievment unto itself. Couple that with some decent puzzling and platforming action and you have the end results of a great indie title that's well worth the few quid you can pick it up for.