I was fortunate enough to go to an ID@XBOX event in London this week and get stuck right into some promising games due for release soon.
The highlight of the event for me, as an avid fan of 90’s LucasArts point-and-click games, was the new Ron Gilbert-led game Thimbleweed Park. Developed by his new team Terrible Toybox with fellow ex-LucasArts man Gary Winnick, Thimbleweed Park looks to be a return to the glory days.
In the cursed town of Thimbleweed Park there has been a murder. However as the tagline states and the demo proves, “in Thimbleweed Park a dead body is the least of our problems”. In classic point-and-click style, an adventure stretches out into the madness and the mystery behind the crazy town and its even crazier residents. The demo I played involved a witch’s curse, a swearing clown and a road sign that read “closed for demo”. Those seem like all the ingredients for a classic point-and-click puzzle game if you ask me. Oh… and there are some puzzles as well for good measure.
I have always argued that a good puzzle is one that stumps you for ages, frustrates you and initially looks impossible to solve, but when you’re given the solution it suddenly seems obvious. The puzzles in Thimbleweed Park do just that. Every puzzle I came across in the demo was difficult – they required me to really use my brain, but had me thinking that I was so stupid for not seeing the answer that proved, more often than not, to be in plain sight.
Read more: Thimbleweed Park First Impressions
And just like everything else in Thimbleweed Park, the puzzles and their solutions are hilarious. It truly is made from the same classic mould that Ron Gilbert and co. formed in the early 90s with The Secret of Monkey Island and Maniac Mansion. This extends from the characters to the puzzles and the way they interact with the environment to try and solve them.
There is so much to be said about the cast that form the story. Though I’ve only so far met a small fraction of the whole host of unique characters that will shape Thimbleweed Park, all of them are memorable and have their own thing going on. Ransome the *Beeping* Clown might be the most outlandish of the characters you come across, but I genuinely loved playing as Agent Ray, the sarcastic detective. Her one liners and flippant reactions to objects and people are truly witty. Despite how varied these people are, they all pull towards the same self-referential humour that defined a genre in the 90s – and it’s coming back here with a bang.
If you want to play a completely new yet old-school point and click adventure then there won’t be a better choice. It is funny, nostalgic and charming. It knows exactly what it is – a classic Ron Gilbert and Gary Winnick game. And that is one hell of a thing to be.
Look out for our full review of Thimbleweed Park next week.