I know the gaming industry is currently bloated and over-saturated with games based on hopping into Russian stacking matryoshka dolls and plots hanging on oppressive child labor and puzzles solved by flatulence, but if you could find it in your heart and busy schedule…please check out my coverage of Stacking‘s first hour. It’s a fun time. The game and the review.
I actually wrote that coverage some weeks back, and since then I’ve come to beat the game as a whole. That means I can speak a bit more about what happens after the “emphatic yes” answer to that oh-so-critical question at the end of the post. It’s not a terribly long game experience, but I padded Stacking out a bit by searching for special dolls, different answers to puzzles, performing hijinks, and generally just exploring the levels and looking at all the adorable details instead of immediately moving on with the storyline. There’s a lot to see and experiment with, and that’s part of the charm, that it is paced to your liking. Between this and Costume Quest, Double Fine has created some great “introductory” videogames for friends and family members that you might want to get interested in playing a game. They are safe and still quite rewarding.
Overall, story in Stacking is more about style than telling, which is a small slight. It’s predictable but acceptable, with a beginning, middle, and end, but it’s how it is presented via silent film style that really keeps you watching. Little Charles Blackmore meets a wide range of dolls, and the larger they are, the more intimidating. I think my favorite is Cromwell the Terrible, capable of giving anyone and nearly anything a royal wedgie. The final fights switch things up, requiring you to have previously paid attention to doll powers, as well as know how to play rock, paper, scissors. Nothing too challenging.
I do have another complaint to add though, one that is really only discovered in the later levels. Well, honestly, they are too big. Not in the sense that you can get easily lost, but when you have to traipse back to the beginning part to find one specific doll…it can really feel like a sojourn instead of a skip.
At some point, I’m gonna hop back in to clean up some Achievement-related tasks and give the DLC The Lost Hobo King a try. I am expecting more of the same–which is fine–but if the gameplay of “solve X puzzles to complete level” gets mixed up even the tiniest of bits…well, that’d be a great surprise. I’ll be sure to let y’all know.