At first glance, you’d be forgiven for thinking ‘Oh good, another pretentious arty game’. It’s the sort of thing such art styles eschew, and while the games beneath usually are good – in some cases very good (I’m thinking of Braid, Limbo and their ilk) – the hidden ‘artistic meaning’ and the plebs who preach about it have driven me to not care for them so much and sometimes just actively avoid playing the game again altogether.
As such, I approached The Misadventures of PB Winterbottom with some hesitance; fortunately, I needn’t have worried. A graphics style I had approached with trepidation was backed up by very catchy, upbeat score (which is still stuck in my head) and a basic story told in 1920s-esque silent movie cards, entirely in rhyme. Which is great fun.
As for the actual game, well, you’re a pie thief who cocks up the space time continuum and uses his new time powers to eat more pies. The time mechanic used (well, clone-mechanic) is most similar to the one seen in the Time and Decision levels of Braid, i.e. creating a clone which does the actions you’ve previously done, but with some small differences, such as the ability to choose when and how long to record Winterbottom’s actions, and the fact that the clones you create loop their actions.
As for the levels, they are designed well, making good use of each slight variation of the cloning mechanic and genuinely very good. The major force-for-good at work is that while there is a general plan for how to get through levels, there isn’t a set path, so you can experiment and complete a level in a completely different way to someone else. Saying this, there are some huge difficulty spikes randomly interlaced through the levels which confuse matters, especially when you get stuck on the third level of the world and then breeze through the rest with barely a whimsy.
The only other complaint I really had about the game was it’s length. I completed the game in just under 4 hours and though it could be argued that that’s standard length for such a game of it’s price, I wanted more. Still, a game leaving you wanting more is better than one that goes on well-beyond the point of fun. And this game really is fun.
If there’s one thing to really sum up this game, it’s the fact that at its core, The Misadventures of PB Winterbottom is about finding and eating pies in different ways. It just happens to be clever and fun at the same time.
And now onto the results of last week’s poll, and it turns out Deus Ex was the clear winner; I guess either people really are sickened I haven’t played it yet, or Mike voted multiple times. I shall get onto that this week.
I’ll keep the two poll losers on the list, while your replacement game on the list is Metroid Prime (Gamecube), a game I played once, hated the controller set-up, and left alone for 8 years. Time for another go? It’s up to you…