PS Vita games you need to play: #2
- Posted September 10th, 2013 at 09:35 EDT by Paul Kelly
What is Thomas Was Alone?
Thomas Was Alone is a 2D side-scrolling puzzle platform game created by one man, Mike Bithell. Originally conceived as a PC game, it arrived on PlayStation 3 and PS Vita earlier this year and was well received -- and for good reason.
The game centers on an A.I. named Thomas who after a counter glitch becomes self-aware along with other A.I.s. Each A.I. is represented by a coloured quadrilateral of different size and ability. For example, Thomas is the most average character in the game, boasting an average jump height. Chris on the other hand, is smaller but can't jump as high. Others have extra abilities, for example Claire, who is a big blue square, can float on water and Laura, a flat pink rectangle, has a 'bounce' ability; that is, any character can gain extra height after jumping on top of her. There's some innuendo there maybe but it's perhaps best left implied.
The most amazing thing about Thomas Was Alone is how personalities are given to these coloured squares and rectangles. The narration, which goes on throughout the game and gives context to the levels, is fantastic. As you play the game, you become attached to certain characters and want them to succeed but also dislike others. Chris is one such dislikable character; short, stubby and cynical, you somehow think that Chris should stop being mean to Thomas because of what the narrator says. It sounds so ridiculous but makes a lot of sense when playing. Is the narration pretentious? A little.
Then we have the gameplay itself. The game isn't difficult, nor is it complex, despite the initial thoughts of controlling numerous characters simultaneously. Thomas Was Alone combines rather simple platforming with using numerous abilities to solve puzzles. Quite often, especially in the later levels, you will often switch back and forth between characters and use their abilities in tandem. The game can be summed up with the old cliche 'it's greater than the sum of its parts'.