The adventure game genre is definitely not one of my favorite genres. It isn’t that I think they are bad games, I mean, I enjoy the humor of the Monkey Island games and the Grim Fandango game. I just feel like the gameplay is clunky and very confusing at times on how to progress through the game. The puzzles would be so obscure and confusing that it would take me right out of the zone that the game has. and well, I would be right back in reality. However, I think I have found one of my all-time favorite downloadable games, and maybe another runner-up in my favorite games of my all-time list. This is yet another brilliant game from the minds at Double Fine Productions, called Stacking! An adventure/puzzle game, based on those Russian stacking dolls, Stacking Is a very and I mean VERY good game. It is one game I would recommend in the first top 5 games to download if you are new to the market. Also, since they just came out with DLC, this will be a double-stacked review including Stacking: The Lost Hobo King DLC! An extension to the amazing awesomeness that is Stacking, The Lost Hobo King just continues with what works with Stacking. You have really clever puzzles, really funny wit and humor, a creative presentation, and just an all-around enjoyable story. Stacking is one of the most entertaining games I have ever played, and it is a game I would highly recommend downloading instantly. So, let’s get onto the review of Stacking and Stacking: The Lost Hobo King
The story of Stacking stars the Blackmore family, where the father of the family gets a high paying job working for an evil man named the Baron. After awhile, the father didn’t come back from work, and the rest of the family is taken away to become slaves, except for one little doll named Charlie Blackmore, who isn’t taken away due to his small size. He gets some help from a friendly hobo, who in the game is the cause of global warming, and is off to rescue his family. The Lost Hobo King DLC’s story picks up after the ending of the first game where Charlie is on a quest to help his hobo friend’s country called Camelfoot, and find, well, the crown of the hobo king. The entire story is well thought out, even if it is simple with a great script, and is just a blast to play through. It might be simple and take a backseat to the gameplay, but it’s cute, and anyone can enjoy it. If you don’t enjoy it, you have no sense of wonderment or, well, have no fun in your soul.
The gameplay in Stacking and its DLC is a mix between puzzle solving and adventure game play where you play as Charlie, the smallest of the Russian dolls. You travel around in a huge overworld train station in the first game and a hobo-infested town in the DLC. The main gimmick in the world of Stacking is to solve puzzles using the people all around you. How do you do this? Well, since you are the smallest person there, you can get inside and stack into people and use their abilities. Puzzles in the game can be solved by using different kinds of characters. For example, in the DLC, you use a guy who has really smelly cheese to get past an underground passage surrounded by ghouls. This game could be considered short, but the genius and the replay value come in the puzzles themselves. What do I mean by this? Well, let me explain. Each puzzle in the game has up to 4 or more alternative solutions. You can easily just blow through the game and the DLC in a couple of hours, but then you wouldn’t get the charm and the creativity each puzzle reveals. For example, one of the first puzzles you have to complete in the game is to clear out a building full of people. One solution is to open up the air duct system and use a character that farts to make everyone cough and exit the building. Another solution is to enter the building as someone who isn’t supposed to be there. Another puzzle takes place on a huge titanic-like ship where you need to ruin the caviar bar by one solution of spoiling it by putting too much seasoning or sending the caviar dispenser off the boat. All the puzzles in this game are well put together and range from easy to pretty tough. The way of solving the puzzles might mean stacking up into very specific dolls. During the later part of the normal game, you have to get into a doll to get past guards of the Baron, since if you get caught, you get put in jail. There isn’t a multiplayer mode, but I don’t think the game needs it. There are also special side quests you can do, like find a specific family of dolls or cause hijinks by using different dolls. You can slap people, put buckets on people’s heads, and give unsuspecting people an uppercut to the jaw.
The graphics in the game are amazing presentation-wise. It is like you took a bunch of Russian dolls and shined them up with wood polish, made an entire world out of toys from the 20’s and random junk and called it a world. It’s all very detailed, and all the dolls in the world have unique charms, and it is just fun to try and find every single doll to collect. The music is also very charming, with tracks that sound like you’re watching an old 20’s or 30’s silent film. The best way I can sum up the look of the game is if you dug up a time capsule from the 20’s and 30’s and just brought everything back to life from the capsule. I think the reason why all this works is because the founder of Double Fine, Tim Schaeffer, worked on adventure games with Deathspank creator Ron Gilbert, who actually worked on the recent Monkey Island game. Tim Schaeffer also made a cult classic adventure game called Full Throttle, which I have actually seen, but was nervous to pick it up due to not knowing if my computer will make it work. Anyways, the company knew what to do to make an adventure game with a new twist, and it rocks.
So, with all this great stuff I just mentioned above, what are the downsides to this classic downloadable game? Well, if you don’t want to take on the task of solving every puzzle, then you will find the game to be short. For 15 dollars, you get what you need, but like I said, if you don’t find all the solutions for the puzzles, then it’s going to be a little on the overpriced side of things. As for the DLC, you can do all of the solutions for the puzzles in about an hour, but for 6 dollars that isn’t bad. The camera is a bit awkward, but it is just a minor thing due to it being a little higher up than your character.
Overall, if you haven’t bought this game, then I feel so sorry for your life. This game is worth the 15 dollars, plus the 6 dollars for the DLC. If you are not big into adventure puzzle games then I won’t recommend it. If you are into great solid games with great humor, and just an interesting gaming experience, then I don’t know where else you could look besides Thatgamecompany’s upcoming game, Journey. Anyway, go download this game.
This game gets a 9 out of 10