It’s a Double Fine Day
Usually I don’t write about a game before I’ve finished playing it but today I’m throwing that out the window to talk about two games I haven’t yet finished: Costume Quest and Stacking. Yes, I bought the Double Fine Humble Bundle. So glad that I dropped a buck on some surprisingly fun games. (Before anyone judges my cheapness, I don’t have a job and probably shouldn’t have spent that $1. And I gave it to charity.) My eagerness to share with you is for pretty much the same reason I derive so much glee from these games: I’m basically just a big child.
So, fuck yeah, I want to play a game about trick-or-treating. Had I known such a game existed I would have gotten it well before now. Which one of you hasn’t reminisced fondly of dressing up and getting sugary mountains of candy? Anyone who hasn’t must have had a sad childhood. It’s an American tradition. Even Adam could participate. You’ve got a recipe for mounds of nostalgia jizz with a game that takes knocking on your neighbors’ doors AND adds in turn-based monster fights.
Your twin is taken! Which twin gets taken depends on whether you want to play as a boy or girl. Thank the video game gods for a choice. It’s up to you to get them back from the candy-hungry Grubbins and their witch of a boss. Your twin gets taken because they are dressed as a giant piece of candy corn. Fucking brilliant. Anyway, the player quickly learns that costumes aren’t just for looks. They serve some pretty functional purposes in battle. Whichever costume you have on when heading into a battle transforms into a giant, not-cardboard-looking version of itself. Each costume has its own unique normal and special attack. The robot turns into a giant mech and shoots rockets. The knight slashes with its sword and guards with its shield. And I really want you to play the game to find out what Lady Liberty does. I almost choked on my drink from laughing so hard. Not to mention, each costume will help you solve puzzles as you move throughout the world. The gameplay is a bit repetitive but so easily forgivable because it’s in such a unique and just fucking adorable game.
Speaking of fucking adorable: Stacking is adorable as fuck and fuck is pretty adorable. (An anonymous backer told me they’d let me reach into a bag of money while blindfolded if I used the word “adorable” five or more times.) Another case of “Oh, fuckity, no! My siblings have been taken.” This time by a greedy capitalist (I’m loving this game already) instead of Halloween monsters. You start as the world’s tiniest Russian nesting doll in a world populated by Russian nesting dolls. Poor you. Except you get the kick-ass ability to control other dolls. Let’s just never mind the fact that you’re jumping into them from behind to control them. The only other place I’ve seen that work is. Just. Never mind.
Navigate the seemingly Depression era world with your tiny protagonist and play some delightful puzzle games. Each challenge has various ways to complete it just as each doll has his or her own unique ability. Stack your way up to a doll who throws punches. Jump in and control a trick-performing dog. Just get out there and slide into some backsides. I promise that you’ll enjoy it as long as you enjoy some clever puzzling. No, neither game is particularly difficult. They were made for all ages. But they are both visually appealing and involve some quirky humor. Cute games to whittle some time away.
Let’s discuss abrupt and thoroughly shitty segues. Eh, fuck it. Time to talk about the studio that put out such endearing games! Double Fine productions was created back in 2000 by Tim Schafer after he left LucasArts. We got some games and he didn’t get fired 13 years later. Hooray! It is actually quite interesting how these two games came into being. Double Fine was working on Brutal Legend. Without getting into to much detail, the game lost its first publisher and was forced to find another. Though they ultimately found Electronic Arts, morale was understandably stunted by, you know, being told to piss off. Schafer engaged his crew in what he called an “Amnesia Fortnight.”
For two weeks (a fucking fortnight) the Double Fine employees were split into four teams. Each team was tasked with creating and pitching a small game to the group. Now, Schafer credits this idea to a Chinese film director by the name of Wong Kar-Wai. Wong filmed his movie Ashes of Time for three years. During that time, he took his crew out to do some fun shooting to boost morale. This ultimately led to two more movies being made. By now you understand that the Amnesia Fortnight is where Costume Quest and Stacking came from. The other two games, Iron Brigade and Sesame Street: Once Upon a Monster, have also been made. That’s some fucking brilliance right there. Taking time off from a game that ultimately led to poor sales and critical panning to make even better games must be like finding gold in a piss bucket.
Needless to say, I am very much looking forward to playing Double Fines other double fine games. Psychonauts is next for me. And I am very much looking forward to playing The Cave when the price comes down. They got fucking Ron Gilbert to make a game for them. I’m as excited as a Monkey on an Island.