Thomas Brush wants to tell you another story and cause you to give your authority figures a suspicious glance. In the platforming adventure game Skinny, you play a gangly looking robot who awakes from what appears to be an odd fantasy to perform a series of tasks for a bossy being that calls itself "Mama" and communicates with you via electric devices. It seems a little boy named Felix is up to no good and has been going around stealing batteries from your friends, which isn't very nice at all! After all, they need the batteries to stay happy... don't they? Maybe you should track Felix down and get some answers, but you might not like what he has to tell you. What's more important to you... knowing the truth, or staying happy?
Skinny himself controls with the [WASD] keys, and uses the [spacebar] to interact with people and certain objects. As you play and finish tasks, you'll gain various upgrades that will allow you to explore more of the strange world. The first upgrade you'll gain is a hookshot that will let you grab onto certain distant objects and either pick them up, or pull yourself towards them. On each level you'll find large, translucent glass globes that you can shatter with your hookshot, which saves your progress... though only as far as the level itself, so you still can't just play a little, and then come back right where you left off.
New version now available! The updates will make those frustrating doors a whole lot easier, Arrow Keys will work, and getting stuck in certain places is less likely.
Analysis: Here's the basic gist of my opinion; Skinny is weird and playing it is weird, like Iwazaru should be dropping in at any minute to tell you what a tight spot you're in. It's more a general vibe the game gives off than anything else; everything from the characters to the music to the environment is surreal to the point where it crosses over in the border into Creepytown (John Waters is mayor there, you know) despite how lovely it is to look at. The silhouetted designs are at once both intriguing and unnerving, while the soft colours in the background give everything a surreal dreamlike quality. It's a strange, somewhat disorienting little game, but in a good way; the more you play, the more the bizarre things you encounter start to make sense, and the little "a-ha!" moments in the narrative make playing the game extremely satisfying.
But while the basic controls are fine, the hookshot and wall jumping feel clunky and stiff in a way that really interrupts the flow of the gameplay at times. One area features switches that operate on timers and temporarily remove coloured laser barriers, and could be more than a little annoying for people who aren't much for platforming and just want to experience the story. It doesn't help matters that in some places that silhouette design actually seems to work against you, and figuring out what you can destroy, walk through, or are blocked by winds up just being a matter of flailing against it rather than relying on visual information. Platforming should feel smooth and intuitive, and when it doesn't, the experience suffers as a result.
Without spoiling anything, comparisons will probably be made between Skinny and a flock of other titles for a myriad of issues, but it's still worth playing Skinny to enjoy on its own. It kind of feels like it's begging to have an animated film made out of it. Skinny is strange and doesn't quite succeed as a platformer, but it's a gorgeous, creepy little adventure that's well worth your time.
Thanks to Redmug for sending this one in!