Thomas Was Alone is a 2D puzzle platformer developed by Mike Bithell. It was published by Bithell on the PC, by Curve Digital on consoles and handheld devices, and by Bossa Studios on mobile. The game involves the player controlling one or more simple pieces of rectangles that represent out-of-control AI entities. Thomas Was Alone employs minimalistic artwork, catchy sound, and a captivating story narrated by Danny Wallace, resulting in an extremely endearing package. Wallace’s performance led to the game winning a BAFTA Games Award. The game brilliantly surprises the player by making such simple artwork and play style so captivating through its story.
Story: Artificial Life Solutions is a company that experiments with various AI solutions, but something unexplained in their experiments causes some AI to become self-aware. These entities perceive the digital world as a two dimensional space, with themselves being represented as triangles. One of these AI is “Thomas-AT-23-6-12”, or Thomas for short. He is represented as a red rectangle and is awfully curious, observant, and kind of lonely. He travels his internal world and begins to find purpose, and eventually meets Chris, a cynical orange AI. Thomas and Chris then continue to meet several pieces of AI, each brought to life with their amazing characters as the game unfolds.
Play Style: The game has ten chapters, each of which begins with a fictional quote from the newspapers or spokespeople at the time of the Event. The chapters contain levels, each of which takes the player through the internal monologues of the AI characters. The purpose in each level is to get the various AI characters you control to a portal. Once they are in that portal, they are zapped to the next level. Thomas Was Alone is slightly challenging, but it quickly does become brain-teasing as it begins to play with the mechanics of gravity, perception, and portals. One of the brilliant aspects of Thomas Was Alone lies in its simple gameplay yet its strong ability to make you go through the whole game in one or two sittings.
Audience: If you are a fan of games that employ minimal artwork, or just want to have a quick go at some game, Thomas was Alone is for you. The good three or four hours spent on the game will not be regretted. However, the biggest selling point of the game still remains its exceptionally well-written and endearingly narrated story. So if you are a fan of games with excellent stories, you ought not to miss out on Thomas Was Alone.
Platforms: Thomas Was Alone is available on PlayStation 4, Android, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, iOS, Microsoft Windows, Wii U, Linux, and Mac OS.
Verdict: Thomas Was Alone is one of those games that will keep you playing for its intriguing design and slight difficulty of play, but will stay with you for longer than you played through its story and ability to touch the heart. We here at Maverick IGS congratulate Mike Bithell on his success and recommend Thomas Was Alone as a must-play.