“How could I every care about rectangles and squares?” Well that is a good question but before you leave I suggest you stay and read how Mike Bithell gave some generic shapes a name and a little personality that ends up creating a group of characters that you will care for and have fun playing as.
Artificial Life Solutions is a company that designs various artificial intelligence solutions then one day due to a connection spike in the company some of their AIs became self-aware. The AI see’s themselves and the world as only being 2 dimensional and they are represented as quadrilaterals.
One of the AI called “Thomas-AT-23-6-12” that is represented by a red rectangle is curious about what goes on around him and likes to obverse what is happening and make a list, he has an average movement speed and an average jumping height. He sets off traveling through the world trying to find his own purpose and maybe even some companionship instead of being alone, he then come across Chris and orange square that can’t move as fast or jump as high as Thomas and is more of a cranky AI. John is also with Chris but John is a very tall yellow rectangle who can jump very high and likes to show this off, the three of them set off making their way through the world helping each other past certain obstacles that require teamwork.
Further into the world Thomas meets ever more AIs first is Clair a big blue square who can’t jump high or move fast but realises she could be a superhero because she is the only one who can swim and vows to help other AIs in trouble, they then meet Laura a long flat pink rectangle who is uncomfortable joining the crew at first as all the other AIs she had helped just disappeared and left her alone. There is a large pixel cloud following her that makes the others scared but even with this following Laura, Chris falls in love with Laura so she joins them to help on their journey. Throughout the rest of the game the group meet more AIs that help them to get the “creation matrix” so that Thomas and the group could help all the other AIs in the world escape and live amongst humans.
Starting up the game brings up a launcher with the option to change the screen resolution, graphic settings and re-bind the controls, it might not seem that much of a bother but you cannot change any of these settings in-game so if you have any problems you will need to close then restart the game which could be a little annoying to some people. There is a settings option in-game but is only for changing the sound options split into music, effects and voice over, I am glad that the voice over was separated from the effects because some games still don’t do this and it can be sometimes difficult to hear the voice over.
I used the keyboard for the controls instead of the controller and its felt smooth, responsive and better than a few games I have played that give you that option, you can use either w,a,s,d to move or the arrow keys, the spacebar will make you jump as well and you will use q or e to switch between characters. There was a couple times where I felt like I hit the jump button right before or on the edge of the ledge and it didn’t register so I ended up just falling off, there was also instances where I would jump and collide with the side of a wall and my character would get stuck on it which was a problem at times but it did save me at one point so that was nice but I feel like this should be looked at and see if it could be fixed.
I really enjoyed the puzzles in the game whether it is using a single character or multiple characters, the single character levels seemed easier than use the multiple characters due to the fact that you will need to use them to help each other up or across the obstacles due to each of them having their own ability such as swimming or double jumping. Similar to other puzzle platformers the game uses and increasing difficulty system where it starts off easy and gradually gets harder but at times it also felt like some of the levels in each of the different stages where a bit too easy compare to the other levels in that stage, I’m not sure if this was done on purpose to give the player a break or was unintentional. It was good to see that in the levels with multiple characters that teamwork was pretty much mandatory and a couple times I went too far with one character meant I had to restart the level, it means it gave each character their own time to shine and reason to use a slower character than always using the one that moves the quickest and jumps the highest.
I liked the graphics in the game the characters where all solid colours and had their own colour each which was nice and some of them where nice and bright. Even though the graphics where simple and basic a nice detail added was all the objects in the foreground gave of a shadow that you could see in the background that changed position relative to the character. I have said before when a developer goes for a simple look but adds in details like this it is always a hit as it adds a little something extra to the graphics, the backgrounds also changed colour while going from level to level which was nice and even at some levels they had particle effects such as rain, smoke as well as some animations that also added something extra to the graphics.
The music for the game was enjoyed able to listen to and not once did I feel like I was listening to the same piece of music multiple times which can get annoying, I think David Housden done a great job on the music and the pieces he composed all went really well with each level of the game and helped to create each levels atmosphere and the overall tone of the game.
Danny Wallace done the voice over for the game that told the story of Thomas and all the other AIs in the world, I enjoyed listening to him speaking and thought he done a good job bringing the characters emotions and personality’s forward to the players. One thing that was annoying was when you would die and restart a level the same voice over sections would replay I think it would have been good to stop this from happening but other than that it was a very good job.
Overall I would give the game a 8 out of 10 it was really enjoyable to play and the fact I enjoyed and didn’t want to see the characters that are just shapes die was great and I could never imagine it, I would recommend this game to anyone that is a fan of puzzle platformers as a must buy and you will not be disappointed. It is one of those games that gamers of any age can play and enjoy from the youngest of gamers to the oldest of gamers, if you have a PC, MAC, PS3 or vita I suggest you pick it up whether it is for you or a game for your child to play.