Thimbleweed Park (Switch) Review
As a fan of the point and click adventure games on the 80s and 90s I lept at the chance to review Thimbleweed Park on the Switch. It had been on my radar for a while, but the chance to play it both at home and on a handheld was worth waiting for.
Thimbleweed Park began its life on Kickstarter, created by the co-creator of Monkey Island and Maniac Mansion Ron Gilbert. Thimbleweed Park is an unabashed homage to those games, the game reminds you of its lineage several times.
In Thimbleweed Park, you play as predominantly two federal agents looking to solve a murder in 1987, in you guessed it, Thimbleweed Park. As the story unravels, you’ll play as more characters, as the game gives you more and more history surrounding the murder.
The similarities between the two main characters and that of the X-Files can’t be ignored, but their appearance is the only real link to that show. Neither of them really like each other, one being a rookie and the other an experienced agent. Switching between the characters isn’t just for fun, there are puzzles that require them to work together from different locations. This adds another layer to some already complex puzzles.
If you’ve ever played a Lucasarts adventure title you’ll know how it goes. You control the character but to get them to do anything you’ll need use the verbs at the bottom of the screen, to open, close, pickup, talk to or look at items and people to get through the game. To this end the puzzles are extremely obtuse at points, you really have to think outside the box and try a ton of different items with other items to solve puzzles. For folks who haven’t played these types of games, this may feel awkward, but this is how it was done. If you’re having trouble, look out for a phone in-game; you can call the hint line to help you through some of the tougher puzzles. There is an option to play the game on Casual, and that removes some of the depth of these puzzles by leaving out some steps, but for the full experience, you’ll really want to play it on hard.
You can play the game either using traditional controls or use the touch-screen. Neither of them will ever replace a mouse and it’s a shame not to see pointer controls here, but neither of them is exactly terrible. Clearly, an analog stick and buttons aren’t the way to play these games, but it works. On the flip side, you can play with the touchscreen but a lot of items are too small and the tap targets not finger friendly.
Thimbleweed Park’s humour is also as sharp and witty as the likes of Ron Gilbert’s previous work, and the game is filled with pop culture and video game jokes from the industry around the 1980s. There’s actually an in-game option to turn a lot of these off, but I can’t see why you would ever. There’s only really a handful of jokes that wouldn’t make sense for people who haven’t played any adventure games of the era.
Thimbleweed Park just might be too 1980s for a lot of people, but for anyone else who is willing to play through this tale, you’re in for a hell of a good time. While some of the puzzles will be painful and you’ll slap yourself for not getting them right away, that’s half the fun. A humorous story, great characters and just that good old feel make Thimbleweed Park a treasure worth checking out.
- Classic Adventure
- Terrific humours
- Puzzles can be obtuse
- Joy-Con controls lacking
- Touch targets too small
- Puzzles can be obtuse