Thimbleweed Park 2017: A Vast, Bizarre World to Explore at Your Own Pace
March 30th, 2017
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, Russian and Spanish subtitles.
The look, feel, and puzzle-solving elements of many of the adventure games we adored in the 1980s are all present in Thimbleweed Park, along with a tonne of easter eggs, multiple paths to victory, interchangeable characters who occasionally must cooperate, a certain amount of non-linearity, and incredible attention to detail. This beautifully designed gem of a game contains everything you missed from the point-and-click adventures of yore. The pixel images are sufficiently accurate to immerse you in the setting of this murder mystery, and all text descriptions are entirely narrated (and pretty well, too).
The less you know about the plot, the better, so we won’t disclose too much. Even if the solution may have seemed a bit too obvious at one point rather early in the game (at least to us), the game is undoubtedly successful in encouraging you to learn more. Even though you may have a general idea of what’s going on, the story’s progression and the fact that there are five playable characters with stories to be resolved keep you interested.
Visit the forum to discover how much other users managed to catch! The inclusion of these small details throughout the game for the contemplative and/or observant player to stumble upon really makes the exploration and adventuring aspects – which are the true heart of what an adventure game is – fun, and distinguishes Thimbleweed Park from its other more cookie-cutter type contemporary same-genre rivals. (Or don’t, if you don’t want any spoilers!)
Don’t worry, Thimbleweed Park isn’t one of those generic typical HOGs where you have to hunt out pointless items that have nothing to do with the game or work out yet another tedious slider puzzle to advance. We didn’t know one of the ladders could be changed, for example, and there was one challenge in the second half of the game that simply flat-out didn’t make logic. For example, how can a phone number be dialed and a call comes through when the receiver hasn’t been picked up?
While its shortcomings, we had little trouble solving most of the game’s puzzles and, despite playing in hard mode, we only needed help in the 2 aforementioned instances. Additionally, there are a few moments in adventure games where you can choose an alternative course of action and yet arrive at the same result.
Maybe not exactly an “easter egg” per, but something similar in that the player is rewarded for going above and beyond and using the extra information he has learned via a more complete and exhaustive examination of his surroundings and goods. This gave us the motivation to play the game slowly rather than rushing through it to get to a satisfying conclusion. We were still able to have fun while looking for further clues in all of the game’s unexpected places. We’d say this was a wonderful tactic for increasing player motivation, especially in terms of thoroughly perusing a scene and considering all of the varied options accessible.
To avoid spoiling your experience, we won’t disclose too much here, but in general, the ability to flip between 5 characters did a great job of keeping things interesting (you see things from a different perspective, for one). Each character also has its own goals and plot line, so if you find yourself stuck with one, you may switch to another and try moving that character’s tale along first.
Pixel graphics in 2D, yes. So what, then? They remained excellent. They were not only a throwback to the beloved adventure games from the 1980s, but they were also well suited to the story. It had a good sound. The music was also excellent (that tune is now stuck in our heads!). And aside from a few occasional off-pitch sentences or mispronounced words, the voice acting was generally extremely good (we particularly liked the sheriff, coroner, and hotel receptionist) (e.g. voiced like a question when it should be an answer).
We wouldn’t alter a thing about how it all came together since it worked so perfectly. This project clearly took effort and care to complete, and despite apparent financial limitations, it still manages to appear and feel like a high-quality item.