My partner gifted me with this game, which she pitches to people as “it’s a game about colored rectangles that made me cry.” I think that’s a pretty apt description. Thomas Was Alone is ostensibly a puzzle platformer, but bound up in a really engaging story about the nature of AI. Those colored rectangles, which you play as, all have various abilities, and while a lot of the game is about fairly basic jumping mechanics, it’s also about getting the characters (blocks) to cooperate to achieve a goal using their particular skills. The nature of the characters evolves as you go through nine levels, and each level is narrated from the point of view of a particular character. You’ll be surprised to have favorite characters among these rectangles and squares (mine is Claire, a large blue square in a world of skinny rectangles who finds out she has a unique super power) and be genuinely concerned when something happens to one of them.
As far as actual gameplay goes, I really appreciate the difficulty level. It’s enough to be a challenge, but not enough for me (someone who frequently does get frustrated with challenging video games) to ever give up. I got most stuck on level six, but even that I eventually got through. The whole game took me about five hours, and the biggest bummer was a Steam bug that meant many of my achievements (I got over half of them, I swear!) were never counted. I might even play again to get them, though. While the game doesn’t technically have much in the way of re-playability, it’s just so great. The new mechanics and characters keep it fresh as you go, while the plot is always unfolding. Even the music is wonderfully done to lend ethos to the world. I highly recommend this game for anyone with the slightest bit of interest!