Thimbleweed Park’s most valuable asset lies in the fact that the Ron Gilbert finally ‘returned home’ to the point & click adventure games genre that he basically created. Creator’s latest work is, as it is stated many times before, ‘spiritual successor’ to the Maniac Mansion, the game that started it all. Thimbleweed, however, does not have dead-ends nor do you have to save game all the time in fear that your character might die at any turn, the feats which made its aforementioned predecessor a lot less enjoyable to play than the certain following p&c adventures from Lucasfilm/Lucasarts. The game heavily relies on the nostalgia (which is understandable), but, aside from that, what does it have to offer to ‘veteran’ players that prefer substance over a mere trip down the memory lane? Let’s get objective rather than just copy paste every single review on the net.
Game’s interface is as good as it gets. Nostalgic attempt to recreate the legendary SCUMM engine is, by all means, not a bad thing as SCUMM to this day remains the best engine for p&c adventures. Coincidentally or not, after the SCUMM was abandoned, the genre began to rapidly decline in popularity.
The characters are probably the lowest point of the game. Apart from Delores and Ransom (by far the most amusing character) rest of the playable cast is by the numbers – unlikable and one-dimensional which is all due to, as it has become an increasingly annoying trend throughout the entire entertainment industry, an over-imposing political correctness. Main char Delores Edmund is the smartest, the most capable and the most emotional of the bunch (boring as hell, though). Agent Angela Ray is typical man-hating feminist that enjoys putting down and verbally abusing her wimpy junior colleague, a token latino Antonio Reyes (who, for all we know, might as well be gay, not sure about it). White boys are, of course, losers with a capital ‘L’: Ransome the Clown, although only one truly fun to play with, is a jerk that gets cursed for being such, while Franklin Edmund is a ghost of a whiny nerd. As always, role of a villain is also reserved for straight white male: enter Chuck Edmund – local tycoon and mad scientist. His latter title comes as no surprise as it is yet another throwback to Maniac Mansion. Talking about it, the main protagonist from that game, Dave, appears in Thimbleweed as well. He is reduced to a burger flipping retard that gets bullied by his redneck wife Sandy, the very same girl he rescues in the MM (see under ‘political correctness’ above).
Voice acting is pretty weak. Agents sound so irritating that you’ll wish for an option to mute just the two of them. The rest of cast is so-and-so.
The surroundings are nicely done, though they quickly become repetitive. And don’t expect anything like the breath-taking mystic environment of the first three Monkey Island entries.
Music is nothing to write home about. It is discreet for most of the part (which is, I imagine, the way it was intended to be), but so forgettable.
The story is overall just okay. It doesn’t get too boring, but it never really rises up to the expectations either. The dialogues fortunately don’t last for too long, although they could stand to be somewhat more elaborate. Another downside is that they are unskippable for most of the part. I found the humor to be too childish, while the so-called creepy moments lacked the dramatic effect. The ending is very unsatisfying (which is probably intentional) and it goes on for far too long for my taste. All in all, very average experience storywise. I doubt I’ll be remembering most of it after a couple of days.
The puzzles are not too hard, though I see how they could be considered as quite challenging to the newbies to the genre. A fine balance is accomplished in this regard.
Thimbleweed Park is a long way from being one of the most accomplished games of its genre, but its true significance is in reemergence of interest in point & click adventures. Ron Gilbert is back and we can certainly hope for future classics in the likes of the Secret of Monkey Island, the Day of the Tentacle, the Dig… And, who knows, we may even finally learn the true ending to Monkey Island saga. 😉 70/100