Point and click adventure games have been making a comeback lately with the popularity of games like The Wolf Among Us and our previously reviewed Shardlight. In a way, I’m really glad that they’re coming back as strong as they are; being able to immerse yourself in a game and environment that lets you solve puzzles and utilize different commands without really requiring you to do more than just move your cursor is so unbelievably fascinating to me. Thimbleweed Park passed the line of what is considered a good point and click adventure and has easily become one of my favorite games in this genre yet. Packed full of pop cultural references, (the main characters might as well be Scully and Mulder from The X-Files), a seamless character changing system, and a tense, (yet charismatic), story, this game really has it all; especially plenty of jokes towards Lucasfilm Games.
The game follows FBI agents Angela Ray and Antonio Reyes through the town of Thimbleweed Park after a murder happens in the strange town. You spend the rest of the game switching between the characters and picking up/interacting with different items in order to move forward. Throughout your journey towards finding out who is responsible for the dead body, you meet with the different residents of Thimbleweed Park and began finding out more about some of the more ‘famous’ citizens. These discoveries come in the form of flashbacks that allow you to play as the mentioned character. For example, a woman at a diner tells you about a foul-mouthed clown named Ransome, explaining to you the reason as to why he continues to stalk the abandoned amusement park grounds to this day; instead of flat out telling you, they allow you to experience it.
The playable character count is also not overwhelming. Yes, you have the two different FBI agents that you can switch between, but you also take control of Delores Edmund, the town’s Pillowtronics factory heir, Ransome the Clown, a clown cursed to never be able to take off his makeup, and Franklin, a dead man in the Edmund hotel. Sure, these flashbacks aren’t very long, but they offer the player a unique experience in storytelling as you play through different characters instead of just be told what they did in the narrative. The voice acting is probably the only thing that takes a bit getting used to, (as well as the controls if you’ve never played a point and click before), but it quickly becomes one of the quirks of the game as characters have strange dialogue options that almost force you to want to listen to every single one. The game was designed to not leave players stuck as characters will constantly repeat what their objective is and the game itself will let you know at times that death is not an option.
The environment is both very beautiful as well as very eerie, having made me jump a few times during the more tense scenes. No, the game isn’t really all that scary, but it definitely can force you to stay on your toes. The commands do get a little obnoxious, forcing you to rechoose your command if you accidentally click a pixel off, however this can be quickly overlooked as the right click on the mouse allows you to move consistently as well as do basic ‘open’ and ‘talk’ commands without having to select the command.
Thimbleweed Park is definitely the best game to come from Ron Gilbert and Gary Winnick, (it totally beat Maniac Mansion). The characters and their dialogue options really move the story along in a way that is funny and doesn’t really make you feel like you’re playing a game rather than watching a story unfold. The game can be a little frustrating at times but that doesn’t stop it from being a cool and undeniably funny addition to the point and click family. You can purchase the game for $19.99 on Steam, PS4, Xbox One, iOS, and Android.
Released on March 30, 2017
Developed by Terrible Toybox
Reviewed on Steam
A review copy was provided for the purpose of this review.
Check out the trailer for Thimbleweed Park below: