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Review: Thomas Was Alone

Thomas Was Alone is a 2D puzzle platformer in which the player maneuvers a set of rectangles through minimalistic levels to matching goal rectangles. Each rectangle has a different size and jump height, and they must be used together to complete the level.

The art style is minimalistic: the rectangles are just flat colors, and the levels are flat black platforms, with liquid taking the place of bottomless pits. The backgrounds do have some detail, including lights that cast dynamic shadows as the rectangles move around the stage, which is a neat effect, especially in a 2D game. Levels are all skewed slightly to the left or right, resulting in obvious jaggies.

I enjoyed the soundtrack, though I have no music vocabulary so I won’t attempt to describe it here. There’s also Bastion-style narration switching between the various rectangles’ points of view, though their personalities came across as shallow, and none of the lines were particularly humorous or deep.

Unfortunately, all the puzzles I saw in a half hour of play involved either using the best-jumping rectangle to jump to a switch, or stacking rectangles to allow the worst-jumping rectangle to reach a ledge, often multiple times in a row. The only complication was that sometimes I’d take one rectangle too far into the stage without carrying another along, forcing me to restart the stage from the beginning. I like the game’s concept, but the designers either couldn’t come up with enough puzzle types or introduced them too slowly, because my time with the game was more tedious than fun.