Tuesday, September 19, 2017

"Thimbleweed Park" Review

Due to the success of Telltale episodic entries and the rise of the walking sim, there has been an adventure game renaissance in the past few years. But left in the dark has been the classic point-and-click, inventory-collection emphasizing style of the genre. Those with fond memories of the likes of "Myst," "Hand of Fate" and "Day of the Tentacle" have had to scrounge for spare new releases or stick to retro gaming to get their fill.

That changed with the release of the shameless and adoring "Maniac Mansion" wannabe "Thimbleweed Park," which has now found perhaps its most appropriate home of all on the Switch. Playable with both touchscreen or JoyCon inputs, you can move around the cast of wacky characters and swap from scene to scene at will. While the genre has always felt most at home with the mouse-and-keyboard combination, the Switch's offering matches -- and in many ways, surpasses -- the classic setup.

With crafty writing, humorous plot twists and an ingeniously interlocking ecosystem, "Thimbleweed Park" is best enjoyed by shunning online walkthroughs and forcing yourself into trial and error. It's a joy to get lost in the myriad puzzles, only to claw your way out with a clever solution. With plenty of red herrings present to throw you off, the experience feels more open-ended than linear.

While plagued with bottleneck issues that always dogged games like this, "Thimbleweed Park" is blessed with enough nods to modern gameplay conventions to make the experience seem intuitive rather than archaically punishing. Yet another joyous addition to the Switch library, "Thimbleweed Park" is worth a look on whatever system you favor.

Publisher provided review code.

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