Thimbleweed Park

Thimbleweed Park
 
 

Thimbleweed Park faithfully recreates the look and feel of the classic LucasArts games of the 80’s and 90’s. The team that help made those games so popular return to produce one oozing with charm, humour and quirky puzzles. Those that hadn't experienced the Maniac Mansion or Monkey Island series might find the puzzles too left-field for their tastes, but fans of the original genre should – nay, need – to play this game.

There is a slight bias though. I grew up on the LucasArts games, and consider the humour found in them the basis for my own, as well as helping me form my outside-the-box critical thinking from their puzzles

 
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Ron Gilbert and Gary Winnick, two of the original members of LucasArts, teamed up to create the new point-and-click adventure game, remaining faithful to t LucasArts originals. With five playable characters, you uncover an interweaving story about their association with the small town of Thimbleweed Park.

The five characters have their own unique personalities, and their own agendas. It may seem overwhelming juggling five characters at first, but it becomes second nature once you get the groove of switching between them in order to complete puzzles.

The puzzles still follow the logic of those LucasArts games; the process to complete them is terribly wacky, and sometimes I had to think way outside the box. Others are just tough nuts to crack, and I found myself reverting to the tried-and-true method of combining every action available to me, with every object on the screen. That includes everything in my inventory, which was a stark reminder of how tedious these games can be.

At least the wacky puzzles are unique in their own way. Thimbleweed Park understands the ridiculousness and hams it up, even breaking the fourth wall at times, and gets meta with the self-awareness that it is a game.

Thankfully for those head-scratcher tasks, the developers have included a to-do list for every character. This addition is a nice improvement on the old mechanics, which require a good memory to recall all the tasks that need to be done before moving on. The addition of casual and hardcore modes also caters for those that have never tried these games before; the former trims some puzzles out of the latter for a more digestible experience, allowing easier progress.

As I reviewed the game on Xbox One, I had no choice but to use the controller. While the controls work well with the designed shortcuts – using bumpers and the d-pad to allow switch between panels – it doesn't hold a candle to mouse controls. The speed at which the mouse can move across the screen is much more efficient than that of a gamepad.

This especially applies when it comes to pixel hunting, a term grandfathered from the 80’s and 90’s, where you move the cursor over every inch of space to find that missing piece of the puzzle on the screen. I wouldn't be complaining about this had I been playing it on PC, but going through the same process using a controller became a chore.

The characters and the jokes are mostly humorous, but a few fall flat. Ransome the *beeping* clown is a stand-out for me, for his sailor mouth and all-round indifference of himself and everyone around him. Some of the characters, like the agents you control in the beginning however, didn't make a lasting impression due to their lackluster voice acting.

Thimbleweed Park takes anywhere between 12 to 20 hours to complete, depending on one's efficiency and experience with previous LucasArts games, as there are many nods to them. I spent a bit longer due to being stuck without a guide to help me, only to have that lightbulb moment when I step away from the game. Usually on the crapper, I do all my important thinking on the crapper.

Ron Gilbert and his team have created a wonderful piece of nostalgia, and for a few hours, brought me back to my younger days, playing on my 386 PC. For those that have the same fond memories of games of yesteryear, like Maniac Mansion and Monkey Island, it is a must-buy. Not only will the memories flood back, you will also notice the little easter eggs the developers have slipped in. For less than $30, you get a near 20 hour experience, and in my opinion, it's worth every cent.


Tony received a digital copy of Thimbleweed Park from the developer for review.


"Pays wonderful homage to its adventure gaming ancestors, including the humour and the tedium."
- Thimbleweed Park
8.9
Great
 
Follow Own it? Rating: M   Difficulty: Medium   Learning Curve: 5 Min


 

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Comments Comments (5)

 
Posted by Unfathomable-Ruination
On Thursday 13 Apr 2017 5:24 PM
1
Instantly recognisable. Without looking at who made it, as soon as I saw the character models, I knew it had to be ex Luacasarts staff. Just finished Day of the Tentacle recently on the Vita, after having not played it in so many years, was a nice change from the usual. Will definitely grab this at some point.
 
 
 
Posted by Ryzlin
On Thursday 13 Apr 2017 11:08 PM
2
Out side of the box problem solving always makes me think of that Disc world puzzle with the octopus. Yes it's as bad as it sounds.

I'm seriously keen for this game though. Might have to wait until have have the money to spare however.
 
 
 
Posted by dsinnz
On Friday 14 Apr 2017 5:26 AM
3
Still waiting for curse of monkey island remake . Wish this was on PS4!
 
 
 
Posted by Unfathomable-Ruination
On Friday 14 Apr 2017 7:16 AM
1
14 April 2017, 05:26 AM Reply to dsinnz
Still waiting for curse of monkey island remake . Wish this was on PS4!
You're in luck. A PS4 version is going to be released in a few months.
 
 
 
Posted by toner
On Friday 14 Apr 2017 9:00 AM
1
14 April 2017, 05:26 AM Reply to dsinnz
Still waiting for curse of monkey island remake . Wish this was on PS4!
Thimbleweed Park is coming to PS4 soon, can't recall if it's in a month or a few months, but it is coming.

And yes, Curse of Monkey Island needs to come to consoles ASAP.