Thimbleweed Park for iPhone and iPad: the ultimate retro adventure game from the creators of Maniac Mansion and Secret of Monkey Island


Terrible Toybox, which is largely made up of former LucasArts employees, ran a crowdfunding campaign in 2014 to develop an old-school adventure game codenamed Thimbleweed Park.

Download Thimbleweed Park for iPhone and iPad (App Store)
Download Thimbleweed Park for macOS (Mac App Store)

Then they managed to collect over 600 thousand dollars, which were then spent on the development of a promising project. Ron Gilbert and Gary Winnick, known in the world as the authors of Maniac Mansion and Secret of Monkey Island, were responsible for the plot, characters and the overall implementation of the concept. Based on this, it should be clear why the game seemed promising to users.

Himbleweed Park game for iPhone and iPad

Did the legendary developers live up to the aspirations of users? How acquitted. The game was released this spring, and simultaneously on all major platforms. The Thimbleweed Park project also appeared for iPhone and iPad. Reviews of journalists, critics and ordinary gamers unambiguously identified the novelty as a good thing and moderately nostalgic. There were also disappointed exclamations that the game was “unfortunately not a masterpiece,” but putting their hand on their hearts: Gilber and Winnick were unlikely to try to write themselves with this project in history. To recall the past and pamper the “oldies” with competent and cleverly tailored stylization for their own projects of the late 80s – yes, to say a new weighty word in the genre – definitely not.

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Five angles to kill

In the prologue of the game, we are briefly introduced to a resident of the town of Timbluid Park, investor Boris. In passing, because as soon as he appears before us, he will be unexpectedly killed. The investigation is assigned to two FBI agents who vaguely resemble Mulder and Scully. Soon, three more residents of the city join them: an embittered clown Ransom, an aspiring game developer Dolores, and a local ghost named Chuck. All of them are united by a common task: to find Boris’s killer. Moreover, this must be done in just a day.

Himbleweed Park game for iPhone and iPad

After some time, our main task will fade into the background, because fascinating stories of the main characters will appear in all their glory, full of references to all the works of mass culture that are familiar to all. So, the line with the clown borrowed something from Stephen King’s It and American Horror Story, and Dolores’s life twists and turns will hint at Siberia. Each character we meet will willingly share the facts of his biography, in which there are also places for half-hints and not always obvious allusions. Acquaintance with the way of life of everyone and everything is necessary, since in the dialogues with the inhabitants of the city we will find leads for the investigation of the murder.

Back in the 80s

Pixel animation, which is found in the vast majority of indie projects, has already specifically bothered gamers. However, here we have a rare case: the visual component was handled by Mark Ferrari, the artist of the games Monkey Island and Loom. And this means that everything that could be squeezed out of it was squeezed out of the pixel art. It is enough to look at the landscapes in the game to understand that this time the pixel rendering is not a consequence of the developers’ desire to save money. Since the project is nevertheless with an unspoken label “retro”, the music, which at the same time successfully complements the noir atmosphere of Thimbleweed Park, has not escaped the stylization “old-fashioned”.

Himbleweed Park game for iPhone and iPad

Management also hails from the 80s. We will have nine commands that can be given to the heroes: “speak”, “take”, “give”, “open”, “close”, “pull”, “push”, “go” and “use”. Such a system is not very convenient, and for many it is not at all familiar, but since it was decided to create a retro game, it was impossible to do without retro control. As for the complexity of the riddles, then, as in many classic point’n’click quests, at times you will have to think about it thoroughly. To complete the investigation, we will need to collect six pieces of evidence: two with fingerprints, two with blood and two with photographs. Something can be found without much difficulty, but there will be moments of complete despair arising from not understanding how to solve a particular problem.

Himbleweed Park game for iPhone and iPad

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A little about humor

If you are one of those people who open the settings before the game, then an amazing discovery awaits you: next to all sorts of standard parameters you will find the item “toilet paper orientation”. This will be the first joke, one of very many that you will meet in the process of passing. In general, you will find a sea of ​​sarcastic dives between the heroes, mountains of puns and tons of black humor. There will be everything and enough for everyone. The episodes with a visit to the bookstore or the library of the mansion are noteworthy: all the titles of the books there are comic allusions to famous works. Moreover, there are really a lot of books, and each of them can be turned in your hands. Thimbleweed Park has enough of such trifles, one has only to mention the telephone directory, all numbers of which you can call and hear the voices of different people.

Himbleweed Park game for iPhone and iPad

From time to time, the characters begin to joke about the very process of the game. For example, one of the heroes in a particularly tense moment asks if it’s time for him to save. To which he will receive an answer, they say, this is superfluous, since the deaths of key characters were done away with in Maniac Mansion. There will be many similar moments in the game, and all of them will be more than appropriate.

Summing up, it should be noted that journalists, critics and ordinary gamers speak about Thimbleweed Park mostly in a positive way. Indeed, this is not a pass-through game, but it is not something that transcends the boundaries of the genre. Therefore, obviously, not everyone will like the project. Nevertheless, he is more than worthy of the attention that is still willingly given to him.

Download Thimbleweed Park for iPhone and iPad (App Store)
Download Thimbleweed Park for macOS (Mac App Store)

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