Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Stacking review

Stacking comes from the mind of Tim Schafer of "Day of the Tentacle", "Monkey Island", and "Psychonauts" fame so something fun but weird can be expected and there's no disappointment. You play Charlie the youngest and smallest of a family of Russian dolls in a world populated just by Russian dolls. with your family entrapped by the evil Baron it's up to you to rescue your family.

The mechanism for this is surprisingly simple - as the smallest doll in the world you can stack with any other doll provided that a) they don't see you approaching and b) they're one size larger than you. So stack into a child one size larger then you can stack into an adult one size larger than that and so on. Each doll has a unique ability, some more useful than others, and with these you need to solve the problems that are preventing you from reaching and saving your family.

As can be expected from Schafer the logic in solving some of these puzzles can be a little bizarre at times, but the great thing is that there are multiple ways of solving them some much being more obvious and straightforward than others. That's where most of the fun lies as each puzzle remains in place until all methods of solving it have been found, but provided at least one is discovered the story can progress.

Adding to the length of the game, there are unique dolls that you can find, as well as unique 'family' stacks that need to be collected in order. There are also "hi-jinks" which are challenges such as using a child doll to play Tag with 10 other child dolls. Given that that that the hi-jinks only provide a name for it rather than a full description and that the puzzle solutions don't even provide that reaching 100% can prove challenging.

Cleverly on the puzzle side hints are available from the menu as well as simply listening to what the obstructive characters may say.

In essence this plays close to Monkey Island and Day of the Tentacle in terms of screwed up logic, but mostly it reminds me of the Milkman section of Psychonauts. If you enjoyed those, you'll enjoy this.


Orphi said...

Ah, the Milkman. Now let's take a look around this nice, normal neighbourhood…

Great times.