We begin our journey in a small, unassuming hallway. The foyer this leads into seems familiar and friendly notes dotted here and there, some pictures on the walls and something dreadfully beckoning about that staircase. A soothing voice begins to talk and we hear a sweet dialogue between a father and daughter as she is being put to bed. It seems a bedtime story is in order, and so our journey begins. A Story About My Uncle, is just that; a story about the father as a boy and his adventures when he goes off to find his Uncle.
Silence falls after this little introductory exchange and the voice starts again as you make your way up the stairs. It’s at this point that we realised we were, in fact, living the story. Something about acting out a bedtime story leaves us tingling with excitement. Who knows what’s around the corner? And disappointed we are not. Some brief unobtrusive interaction with environment leads us to an intriguing suit that we are destined to put on. Next a strange room with a big lever (if that’s not asking for trouble we don’t know what is) and suddenly we find ourselves launched up into the starry night and landing in a world unlike anything we’ve ever seen.
When our feet hit the ground we are hit with some incredible scenery. A huge, looming cavern spreads out before us, with smaller islands of moss-covered rock floating around in the air somehow not plummeting down the sheer drop into the glassy waters below. The graphics here are very impressive. It is obvious that a LOT of work has gone into creating a unique, memorable world. The attention to detail was apparent in the less fantastical house setting, but in this alien world it is unmissable. Vivid colours and great texture work go a long way to making a very visually appealing game, one that only improves as you progress. Every area we found ourselves in had a stamp of individuality about it, each distinct from the rest but uniformly captivating.
Once we stopped admiring the graphics, it was time to find out what A Story About My Uncle was all about. The game is in the not nearly explored enough first-person platformer genre, somewhat similar to Mirror’s Edge, only leaning slightly more toward fantasy than sci-fi. Moving around with that viewpoint does make the experience very immersive and adds more tension to your jumps as you traverse across the environment.
The aforementioned suit becomes the basis of your basic moves. It negates any fall damage and allows you to accomplish feats of the superhuman kind. We were eased into the controls, which are very simple and feel natural to perform. We learnt to leap over gaping chasms, launch ourselves up seemingly impossible sheer walls to reach their peak, how to sprint and to use our suit-included grapple tool. This let us soar across the areas, Tarzan style, which, let’s face it, is pretty damn awesome and with the first-person stance, plain exhilarating.
The game is completely non-violent and more about solving the puzzles your journey to find Uncle Fred (who we totally imagined as being Fred Weasley and this being his final adventure *sniff*). Along the same theme, there is also no death and A Story About My Uncle works on an autosave, checkpoint mechanic. These checkpoints are littered across the setting randomly and failing to make a jump merely spawned us back at the last one we came across. This does take the pressure off, and while it could be said it removes some of the excitement it is worth it because it gets rid of that frustration-induced rage that occurs when you die and totally forgot to save.
The puzzle-solving element was challenging enough to keep us interested but not so complex as to ruin the immersion. More often than not, it was just a case of trial and error until we found the right move to complete the section.
A Story About My Uncle is a great game with outstanding visuals and exceptional storytelling. If you’re looking for a dreamy, sunday-afternoon game with a wonderful narrative that takes time and a love of exploration to enjoy, this will definitely hit the spot.
A Story About My Uncle (Reviewed on Windows)
This game is great, with minimal or no negatives.
A Story About My Uncle is a great game with outstanding visuals and exceptional storytelling. If you’re looking for a dreamy, sunday-afternoon game that takes time and a love of exploration to enjoy with a wonderful story, then you’ll find this will definitely hit the spot.