Why “Thimbleweed Park” may be the best $20 you’ve ever spent.
Thimble-what? Thimbleweed Park — remember that name, because it’s the best single player adventure game to come out since Bethesda’s titan of a game “Skyrim’. This throwback to late 80’s ‘point and click’ games is from the same genius who brought us beloved cult classics like Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Maniac Mansion (and my personal favorite) the Monkey Island series. Director and Creators Ron Gilbert and Gary Winnick, bring us a new type of adventure game this time.
Set in 1987, you play as multiple characters — a nihilistic clown named “Ransome” , the loveable computer nerd “Delores” and her recently deceased father “Franklin” — but the 2 main characters are 2 FBI agents (a little reminiscent of Mulder and Skully from everyone favorite 90's alien series “The X-files” - if not for their personalities). These two have been deployed to the quiet and mundane city of Thimbleweed to uncover the story behind a mysterious murder. As the story progresses you soon find out there is more to this story than meets the eye.
You very soon will meet the two pigeon sisters both suited up in full pigeon attire, why you might ask? And why does the name on their van clearly say Pigeon Brothers, when they are sisters? Its these subtle bits if ridiculousness throughout the game and captivate you brings you in the their 16bit world. This odd paid of bird sister plumbers tell you not to worry about dying, because there’s no way to lose in this game. “But playing classic adventure games has taught me to save often”, your hero replies.
“That was true up until Monkey Island,” say the pigeons. “Then the designers realized that death and dead-ends weren’t making the game more enjoyable.”
“That seems like a sensible approach to adventure game design,” you respond.
That’s the first of many charming fourth-wall-breakers in Thimbleweed Park, a game that, more than anything, is about celebrating the dying breed of point-and-click adventure games that opened the door to many new games and series.
This game is a true gem, it’s as close to perfect as you can get — it’s one of those games where the only bad thing you can really say about it is that you can’t play it again for the first time. Everything from the design, to the humor, to the nods to old adventure games from the late 80’s right down to the soundtrack. It’s damn near perfect.
I’m not telling you what to do with your money, but if you happen to have a 20 laying around and you don’t know if you should order a pizza of buy this game, I’m telling you… . pizza comes and goes. Games like this come once in a life time.