Thomas Was Alone is a stylish platform game starring a humble rectangle as the main character. At first look at the graphics you'll think it was developed by a little kid in the 80s, but in reality it's a game full of soul and personality.
Great mix of platforms and puzzles
Thomas Was Alone is a platform game in which you control different characters, who are all faceless shapes with their own distinctive abilities (and, incredibly, distinct personalities).
There are more than 100 levels of increasing difficulty in Thomas Was Alone, in which you'll need to combine the different talents of the angular heroes in order to progress. At first it's not very complicated, and although the later levels become tortuous, the infinite lives and checkpoints mean that it's never too hard to progress.
A voiceover narrates the story of Thomas Was Alone as you progress through the game. It describes what Thomas and his pals are thinking, and how they feel about each other. This narration is the only contact that you have with the characters, and really helps bring them to life with plenty of gentle humor thrown in. It's a great example of how you don't necessarily need amazing graphics to generate an absorbing atmosphere.
Thomas Was Alone walks the line between pure platformer and puzzle-solver. These are presented in two ways: either you have to combine characters together, switching controls between them to progress; or figure out how to overcome various obstacles using your skill and imagination.
Controls in Thomas Was Alone are fantastic. Physics are arguably better than any game of the last few years. The game responds perfectly to what you want to do, where you want to go, or how you want to jump. Jumping is 'pixel perfect', meaning that you'll never fall as a result of a bug in the game - only because you messed up!
Each character in Thomas Was Alone has a distinctive type of jump. Some are feeble jumpers, others leap further, and some can get very high.
Yes, Thomas Was Alone is sparse, old, outdated, however you want to call it. But nothing is lacking in detail. The backgrounds give the game life that seems to be missing in the foreground. Lighting effects add mood, the backgrounds change color as you progress and shadows and textures give the game depth.
The music in Thomas Was Alone is fantastic. Created by David Housden, you can listen to the soundtrack here. It's a tantalizing layering of electronic noises, mixed with guitars and synths that fit perfectly with what's on screen.
A classy platform adventure
Thomas Was Alone isn't about eye candy. It's a game that captivates you in other ways. It proves that plain shapes can have character, has pinpoint controls, and reaches the sweet spot in the balance of puzzle and platform gameplay.
Not a very complex game, but one that deserves to be played.