Double Fine never ceases to amaze me with the sheer amount of charm and originality they can squeeze into a game, and Stacking is perhaps the best example of this yet. An adventure puzzle game starring Russian nesting dolls, it's designed around the principle of, ahem, stacking your character inside other dolls in order to gain control over them. Each doll has a unique ability based on the character they play (for example a bear can scream at the crowd, or a seasick child can literally toss his cookies), and it's in using these abilities that you are able to open up new paths and solve problems in any number of different ways.
And that's what I found so enjoyable about Stacking. It's not so much the actual task of solving a puzzle that's fun, but finding the myriad of alternative, often hilarious ways in which you can solve a dilemma that proves so satisfying. Sure I can simply take control of the chef and toss the caviar in the gutter to stop buffet, or I could use the Pide Pipper to draw a band of rats into the kitchen and have then overrun the place. Even when the solutions become too nonsensical to guess, a surprisingly handy hint system points you in the right direction without completely spelling out the answer.
And of course all of this is wrapped with as much charm and personality as you'd expect from a Double Fine game, with terrific characterizations for the dozens of unique dolls, a brilliant vintage art direction, and excellent cutscenes that pay homage to silent movies. It's absolutely brimming with character and manages to tie it all back in to its clever puzzle mechanics, making a cohesive whole that might possibly be my favorite of Double Fine's recent games. It's a hard call, but regardless of my personal ranking, Stacking is a joy to play and you'd be missing out if you let something so fun and uplifting pass you by.