Stacking, a game released all the way back on 6th March by Double Fine Productions. I first found out about this game….around 2012? Yeah around there since that was the year it was released for Windows. I was watching Sjin from the Yogscast play it and figured since I already saw his play-through of the game years ago, that I would most likely not play it. Mostly because since I already seen the videos and felt like it would not be as much of a new experience for me.
However, I did end up buying Stacking during a sale last year. I think it was during the Christmas sale. My memory is terrible for trying to remember these things.
The time period of the game is set during the industrial era. The game’s plot revolves Charlie Blackmore, the smallest of the Blackmore family. After the father’s mysterious disappearance and family getting into debt, his family with the exception of his mother have been taken away to serve as forced labor for the vile industrialist only known as ‘The Baron’. Using his unique ability to stack into larger dolls and controlling their abilities, he sets off to free his siblings and find his missing father.
Stacking focuses on you, as Charlie Blackmore to solve challenges in his way. These solutions are often humorous in their own right. Although most of the puzzles have three different ways to solve them, giving the player some semblance of freedom to find a solution. For achievement hunters, you get achievements for finding all three solutions.
Of course, there is not only the story challenges that you can solve. Scattered throughout the locations are side challenges which you can solve as well. I think these side-challenges apply to the achievements as well, so those who like trying to get 100% achievements will have much to do.As I said earlier, you can stack into larger dolls. Stacking up causes the perception to change depending on the height of the doll, speed is also affected and so forth. Most dolls have a specific unique ability to their design. These can vary from having a ‘eagle eye’ ability which highlights other dolls of possible interest, dolls that can move other dolls out-of-the-way using their loud voice or even hop inside the pelican doll and fly to its nest to reach a higher ledge.
The game also comes with a free DLC called the Lost Hobo King, which I will be playing as well and reviewing separately. Looking forward to that and seeing what story and puzzles are there.
The game world was fun to look at, especially when you see other objects that give comparison of the scale. Such as playing cards are often larger than the dolls, so you have a sense of how small everything is. Especially when you have the various perspectives of the dolls you can stack into.
The game is aimed towards children but it can appeal to adults as well. It does have some darker themes such as child labor but it does have a happy ending. Although the end of the evil Baron was kind of dark. Even though most of the world and characters are cute, seeing his last defeat played out was just a tad disturbing. Just a bit. The Baron was a jerk though, so not much sympathy for him either. He had it coming.
The only main issue I had with this game was not being able to skip cut scenes. I normally do not skip them during a first time play through but most of the cut scenes in Stacking were so long, that I did not have the patience to wait and read through it all. So that is my fault and not the game itself. It would be nice to have the ability to at least speed things along and not having to sit and wait through it all.
On a whole, still a fun game to play. I found the humor in the game to be entertaining and I might try to go for the 100% achievement. The game is relatively short if you just focus on the story and miss on finding all the unique dolls and completing side-challenges. I admit I focused mainly on the story which I ended up finishing in about two hours. Although this includes the few times I tried to find the unique dolls and other possible solutions….or just being plain stuck. The story is uplifting despite touching on some of the darker themes such as child labor. The replay value is something I haven’t decided upon yet since I doubt I would play this game again after finishing the Hobo King DLC, I might play it again but only into the far future.