Sidebar: Playing Thomas Was Alone On Vita
Having launched this week for PS3 and Vita, Thomas Was Alone brings with it the opening moments of the Indie storm that PSN is about to receive in the coming months. That, and the fact that it represents a newfound position for the Vita as something of a darling for smaller developers. Whether that’s due to owners of the thing recognising quality, or just plain being hungry for new games, its wonderful to see a host of quirkier games arrive on Sony’s handheld.
I don’t mince words here when I say that Thomas Was Alone is a perfect fit for the Vita. From the screen making the simple colour palate sing, to the added touch controls, the Vita seems a natural platform for the game. To expand on that, the game’s touch controls allow you to scroll through your gang of shapes, and select each one. Clicking L and R to flick through your crew is a little cumbersome, so the touch controls allow for a much smoother experience. Additionally, you can just tap on the shape you want to use, if said shape is on screen. It’s simple, elegant, and extremely intuitive. Makes you wish they’d implemented it for the menus as well, but that’s a small caveat. Additionally, the very fact that the game is portable makes a world of difference. The rapid succession of levels makes it easy to pick up the game, play for 10 minutes, and then pick it up again later. Granted, I was absorbed to the point that I blew through it in a couple of sittings, but you still have the option to do that. The folks at Curve Studios have made the Vita version entirely without compromise, and it shows. Thomas feels like it was born to be played in the intimate space of a handheld, with headphones in, curled up in a comfy chair. Wonderful stuff, really.
Now, the PlayStation version of the game has some exclusive DLC, in the form of a piece of content known as ‘Benjamin’s Flight’. Now, I shan’t spoil the narrative within, but suffice to say it’s more Thomas Was Alone. Given the game’s length, that may be exactly what people are hoping for. Additionally, it uses some new and interesting mechanics to create something players won’t have experienced with the main story. It’s a wonderful coda to the experience, and goes a long way to proving that the magic of the original can be recaptured, regardless of time between the creation of the main game, and the creation of this DLC. Danny Wallace, the game’s narrator, steps back in to his role with grace, almost as if he never left. The writing is still wonderful, and everything feels exactly as it should be. Truly, this is what DLC should be; an extension of the thing you loved, without making you feel cheated for purchasing it. Coming in at just under £2, it’s perfectly priced, bringing with it up to an hour of more game, depending on how good you are at platforming. Oh, and using jetpacks.