Thomas Was Alone: Existential Indie Game Poignancy

Thomas Was Alone
The quite marvellous Thomas Was Alone.

Ashamedly, we were slow to take up Thomas Was Alone. Mike Bithell’s excellent indie puzzle game was released in 2010 as a Bowser (get it?) game. Since then it’s found a home on the PC, those stupid iPhone things, and on the PS3, but was released on the Wii U and PS4 at the end of November 2014. We picked it up on the Wii U and have been delightedly playing its awesomeness ever since.

The game centres around Thomas, a rectangle in a computer mainframe who has advanced Artifical Intelligence (AI) following some sort of incident. The big irony of the title is Thomas isn’t alone. He’s totally not alone. At all. He’s quickly joined by a group of other shapes, such as the grumpy Chris, Claire who has designs on superhero stuff, chirpy John, and bouncy Lisa. They all have various jumping abilities for you to traverse the stages you come across. When you reach new areas Danny Wallace’s narration kicks in with amusing, fourth-wall breaking comments.

It’s a straight forward, weirdly relaxing puzzle game which doesn’t offer a massive challenge on your brain, but we guess this is the point. You drift through and come to love the little shapes with their disparate personalities, powered along by the emotive soundtrack. The music, which is ace, really does drive things along nicely and, due to this, the whole game reminds us a great deal of the equally brilliant World of Goo from 2008.

Thomas Was Alone is dubbed by its creator as a “minimalist game about friendship and jumping” and it’s one anyone can get. So what are you waiting for, you ignoramus? Download it and have fun. That’s an order, soldier! If you’ve not been tempted (or terrified enough) yet, watch the trailer. Innit.

2 comments

    • Absolutely, Prof. The clever use of narration certainly adds some oomppphhh. Runner 2’s another good example – lots of well timed jumping and button combos with a great soundtrack. Groovy!

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