There have been many a property that’s been influenced by the likes of The X-Files and Twin Peaks, and those influences are front and center in Ron Gilbert and Gary Winnick’s new point-and-click adventure. These men and many other people were involved with classics in the point-and-click genre, such as Maniac Mansion and The Secret of Monkey Island, so it makes sense that they wanted to venture back to where they’re most well-known.
Thimbleweed Park opens with detectives Angela Ray and Antonio Reyes, as they try to find out what happened to a man who’s corpse ended up face-down in a river. The game is packed with sarcastic and irreverent humor, and being a point-and-click adventure, you’ll be stacking items and putting clues together in ways that don’t work. Thimbleweed Park does a great job of alerting you that you’ve messed up (“I can’t open a sandwich”).
As the demo progresses, we’re treated to a flashback of a very rude and very sad clown. It’s here that some of the overlapping puzzles start to show themselves. Tricks like finding the safe combination in very cryptic circumstances (such as finding out how many kids some crony has) aren’t super-obtuse, but do pose enough of a challenge to keep the game’s progression interesting.
I think that’s a necessary approach in this day and age. We can’t all slog through impossibly difficult and downright crazy circumstances a la Gabriel Knight, not while it’s hard to simply keep someone’s attention for long. Thimbleweed Park knows this and is able to keep going forward with an impressive amount of jokes and gags. While they don’t all land, quite a few did make me chuckle out loud.
In some situations, you’re able to switch between protagonists, namely Ray and Reyes, in order to combine clues to see what can be done, like a camera that needs film. I think the implications of this sort of gameplay system are interesting, as things could happen to one or both players throughout the adventure that could adversely affect the other. Thimbleweed Park is slated for a January 2017 release on everything from PCs to consoles to mobile phones.