I am going to say right from the word go, that this is one of the most unusual and yet seemingly basic title I have seen for quite some time.
Basic because the graphics are not fancy or flash, not in high definition, or with 3D rendered images. Textures are to be honest, non existent, but before you look at this with mouth agape, wondering why I am seemingly shooting this game down before the review even gets going, then I am not. I'm simply stating that this is the game's style. It is about as stripped down to basics as you can get and that is NOT a criticism!
The foreground is rendered in silhouette as is my last review, Nytt Underground, or indeed Limbo. But wait I am getting ahead of myself so let's hit the rewind button as it were and deal with the game's story.
A computer program is created and for reasons that are not entirely clear, is left to it's own devices. In this time it becomes self aware and starts to explore it's own parameters with the aid of the games 'hero', a little red shape that calls itself Thomas. There is no running man here, it is as described, a red geometric shape. It discovers that it can move, think and jump and it starts off on a journey of exploration.
Indeed he starts off alone but as the title suggests, it's not long before he meets another character and off they go as a pair. They soon meet a third, a long thin yellow shape called John and they soon find that despite having their own personality traits, and perhaps not liking their companions, they soon realize that they have to work together as a team.
Once you clear the first section of the game, comprising of 10 levels or challenges, you proceed to the next set. However the game then switches tack as one character is replaced by another. This swapping of supporting character happens with each new chapter. Each have their own distinct personality and as you go through the levels you'll learn about the way they feel about their fellow travelers, and what they want to achieve.
Maybe you will empathize with the characters, maybe not. I didn't exactly do that, but it was a nice touch to learn about the characters as I played through the game.
There is no real plot here, they are not out to save the world, or take out hostile forces, they just work together to get over any obstacles and get through to the end of the levels.
Each level presents a different challenge, from bodies of water that have to avoided as contact with water, will cause the character to immediately dissolve. You will encounter floating blocks, elevators and seemingly difficult places to reach but with some thought you should soon overcome the challenges presented.
Now this is a tricky one to break down into the different categories as we normally do in some reviews, but we'll try and do what we can.
As said a very basic style of presentation but you this game does not need fancy graphics to do it's job. it's a pleasing style in it's own way, bringing the feeling that you are playing a game from the era of Pong, but still has a modern touch to it. There are no textures on display here.
Objects move smoothly where they are needed. To be honest there are no explosions, flames or smoke effects to worry about here.
OK here comes the one gripe I have about this game. The 'music', which is a series of discordant beeps with an occasional sprinkle of piano lurking in there somewhere. But it is to my ears, a cacophony and I soon found it irritating, so I quickly paused the game, accessed the option menu and muted the music.
Along with the 'music', there is a terrific narration courtesy of Assassin Creed's Danny Wallace. It has a wry humour all of it's own and indeed picked up the computer game equivalent of a BAFTA and well deserved it is too. Alternatively, there is an option to access a DVD style commentary from the games developer and this is very informative and explains what the team were wanting to achieve with this product. Listen to Danny or the commentary, as for the music, well it's not to my taste at all.
The controls are responsive and intuitive. There is no tutorial and it's not really needed. Use the D-Pad or the left stick to move the character you want to control, X makes the icon jump, to switch character, just quickly press L1 or R1. The rest of the buttons are not used.
Now I confess this is not the world's longest review and for that I apologize. But this game does not need reams of pages to describe it. What you see is what you get, and the review I hope puts this across.
It is an engaging and entertaining package that will have you wondering how to get through in some stages and in others the way becomes clear from the start, however the fun comes when you realize that you need to have another character where you are now to help you get say, to a higher step. There are places where characters will need to jump onto the 'shoulders' of one of the other shapes as it were. Indeed one shape can carry both of the others, but cannot jump with them on top. So carry them across and then have them jump off, but hope you have done that in the right order, because you may then have to backtrack a little and rearrange the order in which you have moved!
This will, as Hercule Poirot put it, exercise the 'little grey cells', it will amuse, bemuse, maybe even confuse a little from time to time, but if you like puzzles this will most definitely entertain.
There is no online play, either cooperative or competitive, but there is an online leader board which lists the fastest times that the levels have been completed in. So for an extra challenge try and beat those times! Some of them are well impressive indeed are more than a tad tricky to beat!
So if you want something a little different, then give this a try. Like Nytt Underground this is a nice breath of fresh air. Go on, give it a go.