It turns out Thomas Wasn’t Alone after all. Mike Bithell’s moving, minimalistic creation was so well received from its humble beginnings as a flash based browser game all the way to its glorious run on Steam, PS3 and PS Vita that Thomas has become somewhat of a household name.
Thomas Was Alone has some real legs, that’s for sure. Actually Thomas doesn’t have legs, but I digress. Fast forward to 2014, and we’re left wondering if Thomas’ jump (or ‘inverted fall’ as he likes to call it) to next gen consoles will carry on his legacy.
If you’re new to Thomas Was Alone, welcome to the block party. Your aim is to guide Thomas (a quadrangle) to the end of level portals. This is done by jumping on to platforms and avoiding hazards. Yes there are puzzle elements, but the learning curve is a friendly one. Graphically, your experience is a simple one, but don’t let that fool you. It’s still a beautiful, absorbing world to visit and fully validates the less is more argument.
The reason why Thomas Was Alone is so powerful is because by having the characters as blocks, you take away all the preconceptions you may harbour in the real world. It doesn’t matter what size, colour or how good looking they are. In the real world, people use an irrelevant criterion to exclude others. In this world however, it’s back to basics. The understanding that we are all equal, we just have different strengths and weaknesses. Us humans in the real world could learn a lot from Thomas and his friends. And speaking of friends, you’ll need to combine all the characters different abilities to the maximum to progress.
Take Claire for instance, who can float on water and in turn, provide a life raft for the new kids on the block who can’t swim. Or Laura, who will kindly let you use her as a trampoline to reach higher platforms. Every character plays a small but essential part in completing the game’s 10 levels.
There are 3 other reasons you will fall in love with Thomas Was Alone. Firstly, the soundtrack. David Housden’s gorgeous soundtrack conjures up sounds of Sigur Ros and The Postal Service and manifests itself as one of the best game soundtracks you will ever hear. Another reason is the narration courtesy of Danny Wallace. It’s charming, witty and flawlessly delivered that it is no surprise he received a BAFTA Games Award for it. And finally, it is a very simple 100% for all those achievement hunters out there.
Put all this together, and you have an essential Xbox One purchase.
There are many great games on the Xbox One. Sunset Overdrive is great fun, Halo is an awesome walk down memory lane and Super Time Force is painfully addictive. But one thing Thomas Was Alone has over these games is the ability to make you feel something more than just having a good time. It proves to be a touching and emotional experience which truly deserves to be held in the highest regard.
Go and spend some time with Thomas, he doesn’t deserve to be alone.