A Pinstripe Review
Pinstripe is a 2d adventure game developed for five years by Atmos Games, a one-man studio. This one man is Thomas Brush, a name that won’t probably ring any bells unless you’ve been around on Newgrounds at its apogee. I was one of those kids who as soon as they had a keyboard in their hands, were playing violent flash games of all kinds.
I played many of them, good and bad. One game that stuck with me though, was Coma. A short but eerie game that Thomas posted in 2010 that I love even though it hints at many things without giving many answers. This game has many common points with Pinstripe, to my greatest pleasure.
The Best: The Story,The World And Its Characters
Even though Pinstripe is a plateformer and most of your time will be spent running around, the story and its characters are the best it has to offer. You play as Ted, an ex-minister, who finds himself on a strange train with his daughter, Bo, a cute and full of energy three years old. Like every cute kid in any video game, Bo gets kidnapped by the villain, Pinstripe, a perverse, unpleasant entity. Before saying anything more, I have to warn you that this game is short, between two and three hours for the main story. Because of that, if I spoil anything, I might destroy 30 minutes of content for you. I will then stay very vague for your sake in this section, it might be a little short because of this.
Pinstripe, the game, starts with a mystery and a feeling of dread as you start searching for Bo in the first level, the Edge Wood. Where are you? Where is Bo? Who are you? These questions, which will be somewhat answered throughout the game, are what hooked me at the beginning. Even though you share only a few minutes with Bo, those minutes will be enough to get attached to her. She is a bright and funny kid and you need to save her. She is one of the lovable and interesting characters you will meet in this strange world. On top of that, the voice acting in Pinstripe gives these already weird characters even more personality. You can recognize many of them, like Felix, or Pewdiepie, Ross O’Donovan and Arin Hanson from the Game Grumps, Jacksepticeye to only name a few. They do a good job, for the most part.
The story is very emotional, after all, it is about a three year old being kidnapped and detained by a maniac, but there is something more, something more sinister and tragic underneath, a mystery that I loved discovering through the different clues I gathered in my journey. I do not have much to say about it, it’s just a short, emotional and sweet story. And this is the main point of the game, convey a good story with appealing characters, make you feel things and wrap itself in two to three hours. If you love the game’s charming art style and love story driven games, then close this page, buy Pinstripe and have a good time… unless you want to talk about gameplay.
The Worst: Pacing And Gameplay
Pinstripe is a very basic platformer, you run and jump and sometimes shoot with your slingshot. Jumping is somewhat awkward at first, you do not control the height of your jump, only the direction, so Ted always jumps as high as he can, which doesn’t help you land with precision. It gets better within a few minutes when you get used to it and with a controller. Outside of that, I had no problem with the game, it controls decently. You aim your slingshot with your mouse/joystick, solve physics based puzzles, win mini games and fight enemies. Outside of that, you also collect a few objects — mushrooms, secret film strips and clues — but mainly, you will collect frozen drops of oil, which act as the currency of the game.
I don’t know about you, but when I play a game with the kind of atmosphere that Pinstripe has, I backtrack a lot, in search of clues, money, collectibles and any hidden content. However, I did not realize the game is quite linear. If you do not have the object you need to move forward, you will always find it on the way, after a character informed you of what you needed. There is only one point in the game where you need to backtrack all the way to the beginning, and I have a lot to say about that.
Halfway through the game, just before you set foot in your enemy’s lair, you will need to buy a ticket. Even if you collected every single frozen drop you could at that point, you won’t be able to buy this ticket. You will have to backtrack to the first level of Pinstripe and collect drops you couldn’t access before. I found this junction awkward as it feels unnecessary and a poor way to link the beginning and the end of the game. I would have said it is bad padding if there wasn’t another character to meet and a mini-game that reminded me of Legend of Zelda. Yes Legend of Zelda. There are several LoZ tropes, like a jingle playing when you solve a puzzle, breaking pots to find hearts and minigames testing your skills with your slingshot and rewarding you with money and goodies.
Overall, I enjoyed Pinstripe, even if I feel the first and last parts of the game are badly stitched together, it is a small hiccup in an otherwise beautiful game. It won’t revolutionize gaming but as a one-man project, it will give you two hours of diverse emotions and leave you with a sweet ending.
The Bear approves!