#20 – Thomas Was Alone (PC)

It’s a rainy day so it’s a good time to wrap up some of these indie games I’ve got lying around. Thomas Was Alone was recently ported to PSN and featured in Humble Bundle 8, which prompted me to give it a go. I’ve had it for a while, but I’ve got a whole mess of indie games thanks to Humble Bundles and Indie Royales and Indie Galas. Just ludicrous amounts of indie games, and not enough time to sort through the winners.

Thomas Was Alone is a winner. It’s a simple puzzle platformer, using colored rectangles to represent AIs in a computer system. The story follows Thomas as he meets other AIs and they generally cause catastrophe for this computer system. The outside perspective comes from quotes that appear at the beginning of each chapter, but what makes Thomas Was Alone more than just a simplistic platformer is the narration in game. Each of the AIs has its own personality and motivations and abilities. Thomas can jump, but Claire can flow in deadly water. Using these abilities, the task is to get each AI to a particular spot in the level.

Without the excellent narration and music, this game would be fairly unremarkable. I wouldn’t have kept playing without it, but I don’t think the game was designed to be a fantastic platformer. It’s a competent platformer that stands out because of the story elements that accompany it.

4 out of 5 jumping quadrilaterals

#19 – The Swapper (PC)

“The Swapper” is kind of a dumb name, but this game is excellent. It is parts the movie Moon, parts Metroid, and parts Braid. It takes place in space, you’re (almost) alone, and it relies on clever use of simple mechanics to solve a bunch of puzzles. It just over three hours long, and the puzzles involve cloning yourself a lot and transferring your consciousness to your clones. That’s probably about as much as I should say about it. If you liked Braid, get it. It scratches that Braid itch very well.

5 out of 5 talking rocks