mon 16/12/2019

A Story About My Uncle | reviews, news & interviews

A Story About My Uncle

A Story About My Uncle

First-person without the shooting in this nonviolent platform game

'A Story About My Uncle': Nonviolent first-person gaming

Most first-person games immediately stick a gun in the bottom part of your screen. Developers seem to believe that the only exciting agency a player has in virtual worlds is to destroy them and kill the people populating them. A Story About My Uncle joins a small, but growing band of first-person games that ditch the shooting, for the better.

Alongside such titles as Portal and AntichamberA Story About My Uncle is led by puzzles, by grasping the world with a hand, or traversing through it, rather than shooting at it. Told as a bedtime story (like Princess Bride) to a sleepy child, this story sees the nephew following literally in the footsteps of an adventuring uncle, to visit a fantastical and distant land, populated by frog-people – living first in gloomy caverns with floating rocks, later in cloudy cities and icy fortresses.

A Story About My Uncle - following Portal Antichamber in first-person puzzle gamingTo traverse this fantastical world, the nephew initially borrows a power suit of the uncle, further augmenting it with contraptions the relative has left behind as you work through the game. At first you get callipers to wear on your legs that give you a huge jump, soon you get a grappling glove that draws you to anything within range (your uncle has helpfully carved glowing runes across the landscape to help you work out where to go next), and eventually you get rocket-boosting boots too.

The result is a puzzle platformer – you're constantly working out what combination of jumps and grapples will get you to the next floating distant bit of rock. But regular checkpoints and the fairytale sense of story, plus a fairly gentle intro section mean the game never feels tense or difficult – just occasionally head-scratchingly complex.

Throughout, the game remains avowedly non-violent. But it's not without "enemies" – that are handled brilliantly. A beautiful encounter in a dark cave with a worm with a giant eye is brilliantly done – you can only safely move when the worm shuts its eye for a few seconds.

A Story About My Uncle - following Portal Antichamber in first-person puzzle gamingA Story About My Uncle doesn't feature the production values of the high-gloss Portal 2, nor the complexity, originality and variety of puzzles found there or in Antichamber. But while it suffers a bit from repetition, the detailed and imaginative world it creates, the mellow ambience and the gently told story all serve to create a meditative mood that compliments the gameplay well.

What combination of jumps and grapples will get you to the next floating distant bit of rock

rating

Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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