Thomas Was Alone looks like a basic, minimalist puzzle platformer with shapes at first glance, but it shines through with a well written story with character, a high quality and soothing soundtrack, and gameplay that is fun and simple.
As a puzzle platformer, the goal of each level is to bring each colored block to a portal by aligning them to the correct outline. To reach the portals, each shape has different abilities to help them get through the levels. In addition, multiple characters tend to appear together in each level, requiring players to use the characters together and help all the shapes out. The puzzle difficulties are not too hard to figure out, and on occasion there are levels needing some reflexes to evade obstacles. As the game continues, more mechanics are given which expand more abilities and level designs to play through and figure out.
Believe it or not, Thomas Was Alone has a story, and a really good one as well. Basically, these shapes seen in the game are AI, and scattered throughout the game are quotes from humans about the AI and their progression. The game is voiced by a narrator who tells the story, going into the events of the AI, their thoughts, and some humor in as well. The British narrator is one of the strong parts of the game by having a likable voice and interesting lines. In addition to a strong narrator, the AI have distinct personalities and character, which help drive the story. Most people who look at the game at first don't know it has a story or strong characters, but it actually does and makes for an excellent story.
The art style is composed of simple shapes, giving the game a minimalist flair. However, the game isn't all just flat shapes and colors, as there are finer details thrown in along with shading and other non geometric things in the game to give depth. The art design works well to get the point across and looks sharp and stylized without being hard on the eyes.
The music is another one of the best parts of the game. The songs use a mix of electronic and traditional instruments for a laid back and soothing experience. In addition, there are some procedurally generated sounds and ambient influences for the soundtrack as a whole. With a blend between electronic and traditional, along with using procedural generation and ambient music, the music is both relaxing and memorable to drive the game and its story forward.
Many people will look at images and some video of Thomas Was Alone and think there isn't much to this minimalist game. The puzzle platformer gameplay is simple, but gets more complex and interesting as the game goes on. Story plays a big role in Thomas Was Alone, as the AI have character to them and the story is explained with an excellent narrator that talks about the events that have happened, thoughts each character has, and some entertaining lines. Lastly, the music is rich with electronic and traditional influences, and makes for a well crafted soundtrack that goes hand in hand with the story. Thomas Was Alone should be given a play even though first impressions may seem otherwise, for it holds a great but simple set of puzzles along with a captivating story and an uplifting soundtrack.