Point-and-click adventure games are how many gamers cut their teeth on video games. So it was supremely exciting when a Kickstarter for a new point-and-click adventure game emerged. Thimbleweed Park sets you down in a decaying town where weird things seem to be par for the course, including a pillow factory that burned down and a pixelating body that nobody seems to care much about.
Pixels, pixels everywhere
Thimbleweed Park has a look that might make you nostalgic, but it's far better than the games you remember. It's a call back to the point-and-click adventure games that were popularized in the late 80s and 90s, with a pretty significant facelift. You might recognize the looming backgrounds and emotive scenery, but the gradient colors bring each scene to life in a way that just wasn't possible before. These aren't graphics that are going to blow you out of the water with realism, but they are fantastic in their own right.
There is an awesome amount of detail in the sets and items you can interact with inside of the game, from the looming shadows of the park in the dark to the hundreds of books that you can read through at your leisure inside of the library. Thimbleweed Park uses dark colors to bring the gloomy noir mystery to life, and it does an excellent job.
There's a mystery afoot
Things are not quite right in Thimbleweed Park, and they haven't been for quite some time. There's the town in decline after the disaster at the factory, a body slowly pixelating in the water under the bridge, and more creepy goings on than you can shake a stick at. Add to that a curious cast of characters, including two washed up agents and a murder. The only problem is that the denizens of the town don't exactly seem bothered by the body. At all.
The murder that kicks off the game is the big puzzle that needs to solved, but there is plenty to do in the meantime. While the puzzle dominates the story, there is so much more to do here. There are items to interact with everywhere, characters to meet and talk to, and places to explore. I don't want to give details about the actual story away, but there are layers of mysteries to uncover. It starts with a dead body and old rumors about the disaster at the pillow factory, but you'll soon be seeking the answers to your questions within Thimbleweed Park itself.
Point, click, repeat
Playing Thimbleweed Park is exceptionally easy because of the point-and-click mechanics. All actions performed in the game involve you choosing an item or character, and then an action prompt. For example, to examine an object you'd click "Look At" and then click on the object you're interested in. Your cursor can move freely around the screen, but until you click on an item, or tell your character to move, it won't.
You'll regularly find all sorts of items in the environment, but not all of them are helpful. You'll come across just as many extraneous items as you will items that are of interest to solving the mystery. You start the game out with a few different things in your inventory, and over the course of the game you'll pick up a few more key items. The items in your inventory can be used in a variety of different ways. Your notebook will show you the parts of mysteries you already discovered, as well as what you've discovered you need to know. The various items that you will pick up will end up getting used in a variety of ways.
These include items such as a hotel keycard leading to clues about the body under the bridge, a parcel, and even a polaroid camera. The items that you'll find are needed in order to get to the bottom of what is actually going on here in Thimbleweed Park. Overall the mechanics are extremely easy to pick up, especially if you aren't used to modern console gaming. That's because this was a game developed as a throw back to the point-and-click adventure games more common in the early days of video games. It manages to evoke the feeling that those games gave you, with an updated story filled with twists and turns.
At its heart, though, this really is a puzzle game. When you get started, you have the choice between casual or hard gameplay. This option is there specifically so gamers can find the type of gameplay that they want. Fans of the Telltale series will probably be drawn to casual gameplay, which is far more concerned with the story, while hard gives you access to the multi-step puzzles that will need to be completed before going any further.
Thimbleweed Park is a fun and challenging point-and-click adventure game. With a great noir feel, a cast of interesting characters, and tons to explore, this game is great for old fans of the genre and new fans alike. There is a ton to see, do and interact with, delivering a fantastic all-around game.
- Great noir murder mystery.
- Cast of interesting characters.
- Tons of content to explore.
- Puzzles get quite difficult and can be frustrating.
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