Hey, do you like point and click adventures? Twin Peaks? Maniac Mansion? If you said yes to one of these, then this is a game for you! If not, try it anyway! Why? Well, let me tell you in this review.
CUE THE THEME SONG!
…Okay, I don’t have one since this is a written blog, but that would be cool…
Thimbleweed Park is a great point-and-click adventure. What is point-and-click? You use actions and mix it with people and objects on screen. For example, you click “use” and then click on a computer, then the character will say something like, “I don’t feel like using the computer today. It’s just gonna tell me more about the world ending. I have Fox News for that.” And it can lead to some vary funny dialogue and interactions.
In 1987, there is a mysterious murder in a small town. FBI agents are there to solve the murder, and along the way, encounter a greater mystery, along with strange citizens and a lot of secrets. Granted, that premise is not original, but the way it is done makes it so good. The characters help to make this game wonderful. Also, it is confirmed that this is, in a way, a sequel to Maniac Mansion, complete with returning characters, settings, and plenty of Easter eggs. You don’t have to play Maniac Mansion to get all of the references, but if you have played it, (or watch a playthrough) you will get a lot more humor out of Thimbleweed Park.
You end up controlling five characters throughout the game, and, wow, are they something. You have two FBI agents… or are they? They certainly have another reason to be on this case. There is a clown, a vulgar insult comic who once had a claim to fame but is now washed up. You have a game developer, who wants nothing more than to make games, to her family’s dismay. Finally, you have a ghost, a father who only wants to talk to his daughter one last time. Alongside these mains are a list of side characters, such as a sketchy sheriff/coroner/hotel clerk, “The Pigeon Brothers” which are two sisters dressed up as pigeons, ghosts, a town drunk, a guy in a pizza costume, and more!
It plays pretty well. This is a multi-platform game and it works well on the PC, but I ended up playing the Xbox One version. With that, it is weird at first for a point-and-click. However, when you figure out all the buttons and hints, you can easily adapt to it. Since it is a point-and-click game, it has a lot of puzzles. Fear not, for they have a in-game hint hotline that you can call. There is also 3000 numbers that you can call in the phonebook, which is weird for a game that only has 80 people living in the town. There is even a puzzle that makes you watch the Kickstarter video in order to solve a puzzle.
The version I had seemed to have a lot of cut content from earlier games. Now, I am unsure if this was due to me playing on casual mode (don’t judge, it was my first time playing this type of game). However, when I looked at trailers and some let’s plays, there is something missing. There are parts to puzzles that are cut out and missing characters that I have seen in earlier gameplays. There is a whole location at a radio station that’s just completely gone, and you can see this in-game with items and locations what were meant for bigger puzzles. To me, that takes a lot of the fun out of this. The ending (spoilers at the end), though interesting, is a bit of a let down, depending how you look at it.
Thimbleweed Park is a solid game with tons of humor and 4th-wall-breaking jokes, nods and Easter eggs to prior point-and-click adventures, and solid characters. The music is really good for this type of game as well. It runs about 4-6 hours long, give or take the time for longer interactions. Overall, I give this a good 4/5 pixelated dead bodies. New or not to this genre of gaming, I say give this one a shot.
THE ENDING. This game has a lot of 4th-wall-breaking jokes, but this is a first, for me, that has it as the twist for the ending. Towards the end, Chuck, a town hero and dead uncle, is in the computer’s A.I. After him nearly killing you, he wants you to shut off the system. Why? Because he realized that this is all a game, and that everyone is just a character in it. He gives reasons why, and it makes sense. He gives each character something so that they can end their stories. From having one jump into their own flashback to one going to meet an actual game developer (the final one, being that Kickstarter puzzle that I mentioned before). Making one of the characters restart the game from the old wired down version…and that was it. You beat the game. Though entertaining, this ruins part of the plot.
Personally, I was invested in the murderers and how the sheriff was sketchy. Why was he working for Chuck? Who killed Franklin (Ghost Dad)? Why was one of the agents knocked out and put in the sewers? Why was the drunk framed for murder? All of this and….it didn’t matter because it was just a game. To me, that takes a lot out of a game with a lot of buildup, even if this was a more comedic twist on things. But, I still recommend this game. It is a unique and fun experience.
When he is not ranting and yelling about video games, you can catch Sean ranting and yelling in panels across conventions. Want to hire Sean for questionable reasons? You can contact him on https://www.facebook.com/Sagethecosplaya/