The thievery of pies is no laughing matter.
Not having heard about this game, I was expecting an adventure game of sorts, maybe in a similar style to the Monkey Island series. What I got instead, was a fairly straight forward puzzle game with a truly amazing artistic style.
Created by developer The Odd Gentlemen, the game is available on XBLA. The world of PB Winterbottom is a simple one. The acquisition of Pies seems to consume his every waking moment. Winterbottom is a pie thief, you see, and a rather successful one at that. However, things become a little bit strange for our portly pie-napper, when he comes across a pie that manipulates time and space. A common problem. But Winterbottom doesn’t miss a trick and, before you know it, he is using his new found skills to obtain even more pastry covered treats.
Bizarre story aside, PB Winterbottom is a puzzle game. Players must use the newly discovered ability to manipulate time and space in order to collect pies. Starting out fairly simply with some basic platform action, the game soon introduces the concept of clones. Players are able to create a clone by performing an action and then rewinding time. The clone will continue to carry out the action for a short time, allowing the player to do something else. Each level has a limited number of clones that can be created. As the player progresses, more actions become available, offering new ways to collect pastries and new conundrums to solve.
Players of Braid will instantly recognise the gameplay style. Whilst there may be times that the game becomes frustratingly difficult, Winterbottom has a nice learning curve that continues throughout. Although the main game itself is relatively short, the unlocked challenge levels will certainly add to the games longevity, especially if the player is a perfectionist.
Winterbottom is, however, far more than just a puzzle game. What raises this game above most others is the unique style. The visuals take on the style of a black and white silent movie, complete with unobtrusive piano music and intermittent rhyming text filling in the story. Whilst it is finished to a high standard, effort has been made to make the game fit with the style. The levels are simple and uncluttered, the main character is attired in the fashion of the day and even the camera feels as though it belonged in the black and white movie period. The result is a game that is beautiful to watch and likely to gather a crowd.
PB Winterbottom is a great game with a unique style. It offers a welcome break from the bright colours and deep gameplay that is common in modern games. A worthy addition to any game collection.