Thimbleweed Park Review (Xbox One)
Terrible Toybox has released Thimbleweed Park for $19.99.
Thimbleweed Park released on March 30th, and I hate that I am just now getting around to reviewing it. The first time I saw the trailer for the game I knew it was right up my alley. Recently someone asked what my list of favorite games of all time consisted of and one of the titles that appeared on that list was Maniac Mansion. To say that I am a fan of Ron Gilbert and Gary Winnick would be an understatement. Ron and Gary worked on several classic LucasArts projects that of course included Maniac Mansion.
In Thimbleweed Park, gamers can really feel every ounce of Ron and Gary's passion and the game is littered with segments of their own life. Thimbleweed Park, much like Maniac Mansion, is a graphic adventure game with a point-and-click interface. Gamers guide a set of intriguing characters through a pixelated world where they must solve various puzzles to get to the end.
There are many throwbacks to the classic title Maniac Mansion including a mansion in Thimbleweed Park that is very similar to the one in the classic title that is cleverly named the "Edison Mansion." There are also other little pop culture references in the game such as "Call Edna for a good time" on the diner bathroom hall and a wanted poster for an alien on the Sheriff's office wall.
Thimble Park is a town full of about 81 nutcases alongside a haunted hotel, creepy circus, burnt-out pillow factory and weird technology that runs on vacuum tubes. The game starts out with a dead boy that is pixelating in a nearby polluted lake. The game is centered around five characters who apparently have nothing in common but soon learn they are more connected then they think. There is also a weird big-brother type watching over the town. I am not usually a huge fan of point-and-click adventure games (unless they are done right), and Thimbleweed Park was definitely a perfect example. The game is from a third-person perspective and players use a list of verbs to perform various actions and solve puzzles. Thimbleweed Park kicks off with two Federal Agents (Angela Ray and Antonia Reyes) investigating a murder on the outskirts of town in 1987. Gamers control five different characters similar to that in Maniac Mansion with the fun starting right off the bat.
Thimbleweed Park is an open world adventure and you are able to venture through it at your own pace. As you explore the town, you will come across various characters who all have their own story to tell. You also come across a wide array of items that can be helpful down the road in solving the murder case or a puzzle. However, some items are useless but that is part of the challenge, finding out which ones will serve a purpose. For example, the empty tuna can and plastic ring you find on the edge of the road just needs to be recycled.
There are two gameplay modes: Casual and Hard. I started out on Casual to get a feel for the game. Everything is simpler in this mode and there are less puzzles to solve when it comes to completing tasks. For example, when Delores needs to refill the ink ribbon to print the game designer job application, then she simply head ups to Uncle Chuck's room and grabs a bottle of ink. However, if you are playing Hard mode, then it all gets a bit more complicated. You find that there is only an empty ink bottle in Chuck's room and you have to combine soot and gasoline to make ink. The two game modes combined with the achievements list really adds a great deal of replayability to the game.
Thimbleweed Park uses some creative mechanics to make sure that it doesn't suffer from the problems of most adventure games by being overly complicated. Every character in the game carries around a notebook with a list of their objectives that updates along the way. This one feature alone helped save a lot of time of wondering around blind trying to figure out what I needed to do next. Thimbleweed Park does a fantastic job of giving you the experience you remember from early adventure games without all of the frustration. This is the first time (in a very long time) that I feel a title of this nature has been done right.
In the end, Thimbleweed Park does everything right. The graphics, sound and animations are spot on for this type of game. The well-written characters and storyline really push this graphic adventure game to all new heights--making it one of the best games I have played in a long time. It is a beautiful and comedic tale that does justice to the classic games we all played in our youth. If you haven't picked up Thimbleweed Park then in the words of Ransome the Clown, "What the *beep* is wrong with you?" Pick that *beep* up right now at http://www.thimbleweedpark.com.
- From Ron Gilbert and Gary Winnick, creators of Monkey Island and Maniac Mansion.
- A neo-noir mystery set in 1987.
- 5 playable characters who can work together... or get on each other's nerves.
- Not a walking simulator!
- Satisfying puzzles intertwined with a twisty-turny story that will stay with you.
- A vast, bizarre world to explore at your own pace.
- A joke every 2 minutes... guaranteed!*
- Casual and Hard modes with varied difficulty.
- English voices with English, German, French, Italian, and Spanish subtitles. *Not a guarantee.
Reviewed for Xbox One