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Last year, one man team Thomas Brush’s Atmos Games revealed his project Pinstripe on Kickstarter with a lot of success. It reached stretch goals that included voice acting for its characters. After one delay to expand the game, Pinstripe was released on Steam at the end of April. Here’s our thoughts.
The independent game development industry does surprise us time and time again. Thomas Brush aka Atmos Games has delivered a Tim Burton-esque journey. Whether it is the atmosphere or the tone, there is a charm to the entire world presented here. The story leads its players on an incredible journey that starts off gloomy and snowy (quite opposite from how we would imagine Hell) but gets a little more ominous as we learn more about Ted and his family from the pieces of clues that double as aids to solve puzzles. In terms of conversation, there are some choice-based elements here and it gives the options of being nice or mean. These choices will unlock different items to pick up as well as one of the two endings. It is important to note that while this deals with a darker story, there is still a fair bit of humor, particularly with the characters which are actually quite silly and fun, some of which are voice acted by popular Youtube content creators like Pewdiepie and Jacksepticeye.
One of the things done well here is a good balance in the variety of gameplay. There are enemies to fight and codes or puzzles to solve and there are simple mini games like Spot the Differences and little challenges like Flappy Bird-esque puzzles or shooting games that has to be completed. Alongside that is the platformer aspect which runs smoothly also. There are routes high and low to try to access and discover or unlock via different types of platforms and experimenting whether there are other paths and rooms on the left or right. There are also light Metroidvania elements here such as collecting items gradually like the slingshot or headlamp to help progress to the next area. There are tasks to complete and these little pieces called Frozen Drops scattered across the map to also accumulate. These drops can help purchase items at various shop locations owned by a sleep-deprived fellow called Happy.
These items lead us to another positive trait of Pinstripe and that is the replayability value. While some may criticize that Pinstripe is quite a short experience averaging around two to three hours, if the world here has intrigued you enough, the game opens up the Adventure Plus mode after the first run is completed and the credits have rolled. Heading back with an additional item in hand, there are secret areas to open as well achievement hunts like finding the hidden film strips or collecting all the items while having the chance to test out being the good or bad guy to see where the dialogue and ending goes and perhaps even collect some butterflies along the way.
Unlike some of the recent indie releases, Pinstripe is straightforward and simple to grasp. Paired up with a dark but humorous tale, this game could be a nice quick adventure to share with a younger audience. Where the story itself has a deeper story behind it, the beautiful visuals and the enchanting soundtrack in the background along with well-voiced characters makes this Pinstripe well worth a playthrough, if not two.
You can watch our full playthrough HERE.