Thomas Was Alone is the lovely little puzzle platformer by Mike Bithell, which was later ported by Curve Studios. While not a terribly long or challenging game, it released early last year on the PlayStation 3 and Vita, and was well received. In fact, it earned additional attention from us, landing a place in our Top 10 Soundtracks of 2013. Now it’s available on the PlayStation 4 – but is it worth playing again?
Well, the good news is that the title supports cross-buy functionality, so if you’ve purchased it in the past, you’ll garner access to this next-gen iteration free of charge. Sadly, as a consequence of this, the Trophy set is also shared with its predecessor, so you won’t get the opportunity to double down on those delicious trinkets.
For those out of the loop, the game sees you play as a variety of different geometric shapes, each of differing sizes, colours, and even personalities. Through the use of narration, the title does a surprisingly impressive job of bringing character to objects that are essentially little more than bricks of solid colour – and this is its underlying appeal.
In fact, the abstract avatars are much more believable than those that you’ll encounter in some blockbuster titles. As opposed to a franchise such as, say, Call of Duty – which tends to favour spectacle over depth – the shapes here feel like living people, and the title uses this as a device to depict feelings of isolation, heroism, and more – an outstanding achievement given the aesthetic.
Of course, all of this was true of the release on the PS3 and Vita last year, and this version does nothing to enhance that. Outside of enabling you to use the DualShock 4’s touchpad to switch characters, this is imperceptible from previous editions, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing – but is worth keeping in mind if you’ve played the title before.
The port’s of a good quality for those that are completely new to the release, though, and the expansion pack – Benjamin’s Flight – has also made the jump to Sony’s new hardware to round things off. This is cross-buy with the last-gen release, but remains a standalone purchase, so you will need to stump up a little extra if you don’t own it already.
Thomas Was Alone was a top title when it originally released, and it remains so today. Aside from some touchpad features, virtually nothing has changed in this PS4 port – but that’s fine considering that it’s fully cross-buy compatible. If you’ve played the indie before, then you’ll need to decide whether you want it to keep you company again. Newcomers are encouraged to give it a go, too, if only to examine the way in which it manages to bring personality to two-dimensional shapes.