Thomas Was Alone released on June 30, 2012. That was ten years ago yesterday. I know this because I caught the game’s creator, Mike Bithell, as a guest host on KFGD (Kinda Funny Games Daily) yesterday.
Some time in June, I came across the game Thomas Was Alone on sale on the Nintendo Switch eShop for $1.99. I had always heard great things about this game, so I couldn’t pass up this great deal. Plus, it looked like a fun game to own and play on the Nintendo Switch. I later realized that the game was available to me, at no extra charge, with my new PS Plus Extra subscription.
Thomas Was Alone is a puzzle-platformer with a Douglas Adams (write of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) style tone. Overall, the game is a simple puzzle-solving platformer. By simple I don’t mean easy, the puzzles can get quite complicated. The “simple” part is that each puzzle is about moving each character from their starting position to an end point.
Most other games in this style (simple puzzle platformers) would leave most of the story for the player to interpret themselves. Going well beyond the simplistic gameplay and art style with an elaborate story is what makes this game stand out. The level design is also well thought out and challenging.
The narrator, Danny Wallace, even ended up winning a BAFTA Award for his performance in Thomas Was Alone.
As the story progresses, you meet new characters with different helpful skills. The puzzles become more complicated, but by simply working as a team you can solve each puzzle.
After playing Thomas Was Alone for the first time last week, I’m sort of amazed to find out that the game has been out for so long. The art style is made up of 2D shapes, mainly squares and rectangles. Still, the world stands out due to the attention to detail and use of shadows and light effects. Even the water in the game moves just slightly enough to bring it to life.
For the longest time, I have been searching for the perfect game to fall asleep to on my Nintendo Switch. I’ve always found simple puzzles to be the best late night games to play (the PICROSS series being some of my favorites). Thomas Was Alone will be added to my perfect bedtime games list, but I do recommend playing with headphones or the sound loud enough to hear the wonderful narration and music.
Congratulations to Mike Bithell on this wonderful game that is still relevant to this day. It’s quite amazing that Thomas Was Alone still looks so gorgeous, ten years later. I’ve played games that were not even half that old and didn’t look or feel this great.
If you haven’t played Thomas Was Alone, I suggest you do so. It’s out pretty much everywhere. It may still be on sale on the Nintendo Switch, but I believe it was also included in PS Plus (or one of the new tiers), and it may very well be on Game Pass.