What I love about the Vita are the different contrasting games on offer. We’re over a year down the line and the relentless gaming styles developers throw at us are truly epic.
Thomas Was Alone is the latest release from the talented and passionate guys over at Curve Studios. It was created by Mike Bithell and was released on the PC in 2012. Fast forward a year and it now has the Vita touch screen make over and is heading our way.
There aren’t many games that within the first few seconds create a sudden change of mood that engulf your whole body. The game welcomes you with a calm, overpowering sense of well being. A stunning musical arrangement with the simplest of Vita graphics tells you that you are about to experience something different, something magical. The rantings of Kim Kardashian from the downstairs TV will soon long be forgotten. Narrated with wit and charm by Danny Wallace, Thomas Was Alone is here.
Thomas Was Alone is a clever minimalist puzzle platformer where you must guide Thomas (a quadrangle) to the end of level portals. Basic layouts, colour and shading create a unique playing platform. Thomas can jump or ‘inverted fall’ (as he likes to call it) on to platforms and escape each level. Never has such a simple graphical layout looked so right. Due to this you become absorbed really quickly. Less is more remember and Mike Bithell has honed this down to a tee.
As you start your 2D journey, Thomas meets up with other friends and here is where the fun starts. Each of these new coloured characters all have names and their own personalities, strengths and weaknesses. Problem solving needs a little more thought now so team work is needed to find your way to the corresponding portals. Claire, who is a big fat square, has super powers and can float on water. The lovely Laura can be used as a trampoline to bounce your smaller blocks skyward and so on. Your ‘new kids on the block’ like Thomas are all quadrangles, don’t forget, so figuring out how to use their different unique abilities without causing a mass confrontation is the key to success.
There is no timer to worry about to complete each level but there are leaderboards included. Sitting back and enjoying each level is definitely more rewarding. There are a few frantic moments as water tides start to rise for those who dilly dally about and this will see your crew engulfed, but the handy checkpoints are a nice help. Using either the touch screen or the trigger buttons select each rectangle, making a clever staircase and even bouncing your new best friends towards each portal. There are 10 Chapters in total, the first 5 never being overly challenging. The learning curve is a gentle one, in later levels things do get slightly tricky but don’t worry, no hair shall be torn out in Thomas Was Alone. Having the commentary turned up gives you a deeper insight into each character and their background. The game is really about the story, complimented by the game play and the musical score. It’s about the whole package, the overall experience that makes Thomas Was Alone brilliant. There are trophies to win, 15 in total but no Platinum unfortunately. You can replay missed levels to bag these trophies in scenario select. You will want to play these levels again just to take in the story of Thomas and be submerged in a totally unique game playing experience.
With beautiful art and a masterpiece soundtrack, Thomas Was Alone is simplicity itself. Thomas will be your new best friend.
Lizard rating 8/10
Released 24th April 2013