Stacking Review (XBLA, PSN)

Developer – Double Fine Productions

Publisher – THQ

Release Date – February 8 2011

Double Fine Productions, developer of the critically acclaimed Psychonauts, after their last full retail game Brutal Legend announced their next four games would be smaller downloadable titles. Their first was Costume Quest a cute halloween themed adventure/RPG game helmed not but studio founder Tim Schafer but lead animator Tasha Harris. The second is Stacking an adventure/puzzle game by lead animator Lee Petty who has created a unique take on the adventure game genre.

The draw of the game is that the puzzles are done but utilising different stacking dolls where each one has a special ability such as clearing a path, seducing men, passing wind or punching the lights out of other dolls. You start off as the smallest of dolls and you can stack into others which are one size larger. The game is divided into separated open environments with dolls all over the place minding their own business. The puzzles all have multiple solutions which range from the obvious to obscure but the doll you need for at least one of the solutions will be nearby so it is fairly easy to figure at least one solution out. The cool thing about this game is that it encourages imaginative thinking with the various solutions and keeps track of everything you do. It is perfect for completionists as it tracks everything, it will tell you how many different solutions there are and even give you the option of hints if you are stumped. It also keeps track of dialogue, unique dolls and something called hijinks which are cheeky things you can do to other dolls for you to find out.

Like other Double Fine games it is humorous but the best way to describe the game is that it has a lot of charm. The humour is with the different dolls and abilities with the charm coming from the silent film style music and art style. The story is about a baron who has enslaved a family of dolls except for the smallest who then goes on a journey to rescue his family. It is a simple story which has a lengthy and unskippable (unbearable for some people) initial setup which in my eyes only turns away players (especially when it is free for Playstation Plus members). The rest of the game is pure adventure game fun with the only other flaws being the strange camera and depth of field which keeps things far away blurry. This gave me headaches if I played for long periods (rarely happens for me in games).

It’s out now on XBLA and the PSN network, I subscribed for a 3 month membership to Playstation Plus (for AUD$20) to get it free along with a bunch of other games (get the excellent Shatter if you haven’t as well). I think this is the best way to get it if you have a PS3 as you almost get the full value of the subscription with just this game. It is important to note that access to the PS+ free games disappear if you don’t resubscribe but shouldn’t be a problem if you finish the game before the 3 months is up.

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Posted on February 20, 2011, in Completed Games, PS3, Recommendations, Review, Video Games, Xbox 360 and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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