07 April 2012


Gaming Genres: Puzzle, Graphical Adventure
Story Genres: Historical, Fantasy, Crime, Comedic
Graphical Styles: 3D, Cartoon, High Resolution
Platforms: Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Pricing Model: Pay $
Developer(s): Double Fine Productions
Publisher(s): THQ
Initial Release Date: February 8, 2011
Website(s): Homepage, Facebook, Steam, Wikipedia
Explore a vintage world inhabited by living Russian stacking dolls as you jump into more than 100 unique dolls and use their special abilities to solve a wide variety of puzzles & challenges.

This imaginative 3rd person puzzle adventure game will take you on a journey from a bustling Royal Train Station to a high-flying Zeppelin as you collect unique dolls and matched stacking sets to display in your secret hideout.

Conceived as a modern adventure maintaining the characters and stories while reinventing the normal point-and-click interface used for such games; Stacking accomplishes this by the use of stacking Russian Matryoshka dolls which serve as the characters, inventory, and action verbs. You play as Charlie Blackmore, the smallest doll, who can stack with dolls one size bigger then himself; These bigger dolls can then stack with even bigger dolls, and so forth for quite a few levels. All dolls have some special ability, and you can use the special ability of the top most doll in your stack. Additionally, many puzzles require multiple abilities to be used one on top of the other, forcing you to stack dolls in a specific order. This stacking gameplay mechanic makes the gameplay very minimalistic and feel more like a puzzle platformer instead of the graphical adventure that it is.

Stacking has many side puzzles and voluntary achievements, which the game makes very easy to identify and complete by showing you exactly what you need to accomplish, and completionism really seems like the way most people will play through the game. Also, every singe puzzle has a number solutions, three in most cases but all the way up to seven at times. When in the vicinity of a puzzles you are shown how many solutions to the puzzle there are and which ones you have already beat; You can also get a series of increasingly revealing hints. Because of all of these reasons the game is accessible and enjoyable to every skill and experience level.

The production values are fantastic; The visuals perfect, and the sound great. The one thing it does not have is any voices, not that it needs them or would necessarily benefit at all from them.

Stacking, in my opinion, is the first game by Double Fine to really live up to the legacy of Psychonauts. It is simply outstanding, and while in many ways completely different, inherently similar in style and feel to  Psychonauts.

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Indieness: Almost Indie
Play?: Must Play

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