Game Reviews

Thomas Was Alone

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| Thomas Was Alone
Thomas Was Alone
| Thomas Was Alone

Thomas Was Alone, Mike Bithell's shape-guiding indie classic, is one of those games that always felt like the perfect fit for mobile.

Its puzzle-platform levels happen in short bursts, and its controls are never more complicated than a trio of on-screen buttons. In all honesty it's a surprise it's taken this long to get here.

The game is just as smooth, and the narrative just as endearing, as it ever was, but now you can slip it effortlessly into your pocket and play it on the toilet at work.

This is puzzle-platforming done with style and intelligence, and if you've never played it before, it's well worth a look.

Thomas wasn't alone

The game tells the story of Thomas, a red rectangle who finds himself bouncing around a series of black and grey levels.

He's joined on his quest to find out what's going on and who he is by a series of other shapes with different skills.

There's a tall yellow rectangle who can jump really high, a flat-ish rectangle who acts as a trampoline, and a buoyant cube who can float on the toxic water that kills the other shapes.

You need to combine the skills of these different rectangles to get past a variety of obstacles. A lot of times you'll be building staircases so the smaller shapes can get to higher places.

There are buttons along the edge of the screen that let you switch between the different shapes that are available to you on the level you're playing.

Those levels are well designed, and while there are some that you'll need to think about, none presents such a challenge you'll toss your iPad away in disgust rather than finish it.

Square dance

An intriguing story reveals itself as you play, and the voice over, still relayed in the dulcet tones of Danny Wallace, gives you glimpses into the characters of the shapes you're controlling.

There's little in the way of exploration here, but that fits well with the bite-size nature of mobile gaming. You can bash through a few levels in a matter of minutes no problem.

More often than not, though, you'll find yourself getting caught up in an hour-or-so of play, happy to be tossing the squares around the strange, shifting world that's been built for them.

There are a couple of control schemes to play with - one with floating buttons and one with fixed.

They both work really well, letting you bounce and leap around the levels with the confidence that they won't let you down.

Be there and be square

And confidence is the right word for the rest of the game. There's a cheeky sense of humour running through the adventure, and a solidity behind the towers and shapes that drives you on to the next puzzle and the next challenge.

It might have taken a while to get to the App Store, but Thomas Was Alone was worth the wait.

It's a brilliantly executed puzzle-platformer that rings with the sort of exciting ideas you don't often see in these parts.

If you've not played Thomas Was Alone before this portable version is a great place to start.

The controls are sharp, the port is smooth, and the game underneath it all is a great example of story telling, fresh-feeling platforming, and clever design.

Thomas Was Alone

An eminently entertaining slab of balanced indie-platforming fun, Thomas Was Alone feels like it should have been on mobile from day one
Harry Slater
Harry Slater
Harry used to be really good at Snake on the Nokia 5110. Apparently though, digital snake wrangling isn't a proper job, so now he writes words about games instead.