Stacking Review: Well Crafted or Hollow?

By on February 16, 2011
Stacking for Playstation Plus

Stacking for Playstation Plus

Let me start off by saying that I was extremely pessimistic about this game, and I likely would not have bought it on my own. I was so pessimistic in fact, that I tweeted the developer to tell them so. I liked their previous work, but I was not interested in this one. I am a Playstation Plus subscriber and so it was free for me. Due to Double Fine’s previous high quality titles, I decided to download this and give it a shot. It is important to know where the reviewer is coming from so that you can better gauge the review itself.

Let’s get right down to it. This is a very good game. Many smaller developers are looking to find ways to catch a ride on the momentum of other titles by announcing sequels and re-skinned versions of previous successes. Double Fine doesn’t do sequels. They do unique games every time out, and Stacking is no different.

This game has a lot of personality. The story is of a family of russian nesting dolls that get separated because the children are taken off to be put to work.Playing  as the smallest child (and the smallest russian nesting doll),  you have the unique ability to stack inside other nesting dolls and take on their abilities. That is primariliy the way in which you complete the game. You will need to take control of specific dolls to perform certain tasks on your way to finding and rescuing your family.

The personality I was referring to comes from it’s storytelling. The story is presented through grainy cutscenes and told in the style of a silent movie. In these scenes, you will see the russian nesting dolls move and emote (as much as they can) and then the actual dialogue will be presented on screen to tell you what they are saying. Now, when it is not a main story moment, characters will have dialogue boxes.

Also, as I stated earlier, every character has an ability. Those abilities can range from as a sugar high craze to a slap in the face. The cool part is that just about every ability has a use. This is where Stacking gets much of it’s comical moments and depth of play. You can find one way to solve a puzzle, but many puzzles have a number of solutions. Completionists out there will have some fun figuring out all the different solutions, but this doesn’t squander the experience for gamers looking to just play through the story.

In conclusion, I need to apologize to Tim Schaeffer. I was extremely pessimistic and downright disinterested in this game. I gave it a try and I have done a complete 180. This game is deep enough for hardcore gamers, yet whimsical enough to entertain casual onlookers.

I got this game for free through Playstation plus. Having said that, this game is worth a full-price purchase. Double Fine has created an experience with Stacking that stands alone. Any gamer looking for something new should check this game out. It may lack action, but not every game needs to have crosshairs and a kill count.

About David Scarpitta

I am a critical guy, and love to review and give my professional opinion on just about anything. Though have a love for tech/gaming and music alongside the cinema. You can catch me consulting and developing the net any day of the week.