Saturday, February 26, 2011
Luckily I recently had a chance to do a lot of watching, back seat driving, and even a little playing of Stacking, the new game by Tim Schafer and Double Fine Productions for the PS3 and Xbox 360. It is a humorous 3D puzzle platformer that really lives up to Tim Schafer's reputation, and I believe that it is potentially just as good as any of his other masterpieces.
In the game you and the rest of the population are Russian stacking dolls that all have some special, often strange, abilities. You are the smallest doll, Charlie Blackmore, which you use to stack with any other doll, incrementally one size up at a time. When stacked with other dolls you control the top most doll, but you can unstack at any time to combine abilities or just to stack again with smaller dolls. This stacking mechanism is used to solve puzzles around the game world, which have some unique attributes themselves. Every puzzle in the game has multiple ways of solving it and instead of hiding how many different ways and only allowing you to do each puzzle once you are told exactly how many ways each puzzle can be solved and you progress in finding all the solutions is recorded, but solving it more then one way is never required. This can be really great for people who like to get 100% completion in games, and can add a lot of content and playtime.
The first thing that should hit you about this game is its graphics. The graphics are simply amazing and realistic; With all the dolls, and their are a lot of them, being very detailed and beautiful. The environment is also great and unique and is a combination of steampunk and industrial age architecture and art.
But what really makes it seem like a Tim Schafer game is the story and the script. The storyline is presented like a silent film and concerns the Baron enslaving the Blackmore family and many other children and Charlie Blackmore's quest to free the children and his family. While this story is interesting my favourite part is the script of many of the smaller out of the way characters. These unnecessary conversations can be simply hilarious and one of my favorite parts of the game was simply stopping and watching a conversation between some unimportant characters. Also their is an attention to detail and a continuity and uniformity that really makes Tim Schafer's worlds come alive and seem real no matter how fantastical they are, which this game has in oodles.