Our lives are really gauged by the others that we impact, and that’s why loneliness can be so detrimental to your well being. Thomas Was Alone is a brand new iPad game that explores interaction with others through various 2D shapes. The game offers a story of a game within a game, and details the creation of an AI from a glitch of some spare code. That glitch is Thomas, who is a red rectangle, slowly becoming cognizant of his surroundings, and looking to explore. Thomas begins alone, but soon comes across new shape characters, each with their own special traits, which will be used over the course of the puzzle platformer.
Thomas Was Alone features 100 levels across ten chapters, with each one introducing a new character whether it’s a floating big blue square, springy tall rectangle, bouncing pad flat rectangle, or even evil pixel cloud. Each level is about figuring out a path forward by working together with the special abilities of each shape. There are so many instances, whether you build stairs with smaller blocks for lackluster jumpers to reach new heights, carry blocks across toxic waters, or spring blocks to new heights. There are various switches to activate with certain characters better suited than others, and the game always keeps you focused on bringing the whole gang forward, step by step. The level design is quite intricate, while offering an outstanding difficulty curve that never feels too easy, or too hard.
One of the best features of Thomas Was Alone is that it draws you forward to keep moving on to the next level. There’s always a fresh challenge around the bend by using puzzle mechanics that highlight each character working together. The game is presented through a minimalistic art style, and interface with most tactics coming down to moving, and jumping. There are colors on each side of the screen corresponding to each character, making switching between them just a tap away. All of the clutter is removed to let you focus on the challenge at hand, and simply enjoy the engaging gameplay throughout the entire story.
The story of Thomas Was Alone is what really distinguishes the entire experience with a narrator supplying intricate emotions to the various colors shapes. They may be 2D shapes, but these characters have depth with various emotions that question love, mystery, existentialism, reliance on one another, trust, and more. The characters are so well done, that you begin to refer to them by name, or at least he & she, even though they’re just blocks. There’s so much to enjoy every minute you’re interacting with Thomas Was Alone, and it truly nails every aspect of a game, while creating a truly unique experience. There are some tedious stretches in balancing character stacks, and getting positioning just right, but that’s a rarity, rather than the norm.
Thomas Was Alone ($8.99, iPad) improves iPad gaming as a whole making it an absolute must buy, and now Thomas doesn’t need to be alone ever again.