Stacking in the test - puppet show in double fine art

Author: Markus Schwerdtel, Petra Schmitz
Date: 2012-03-09 12:20:00
Adventure Stacking is now also available for the PC. In the test we reveal whether Double Fines puppetry is also something for people who cannot do anything with matryoshkas.

The hero of the adventure stacking by Double Fine (Tim Schafers development studio, responsible for Psychonauts or the Brütal Legend, which was previously only released for consoles) is the smart Charlie Blackmore, the smallest figure in a family of very poor matryoshka dolls. This community is suddenly torn apart when the "bad baron" forces all siblings except Charlie to do child labor. The little ones have to shovel coal or polish the chimneys of a cruise ship. It is logical that the youngest offspring sets out to save the relatives.

Charlie is tiny, but at least he can jump up to other dolls from behind and slip into them (with a full matryoshka pop sound effect) - as long as they are no more than two sizes bigger than him. In the unfamiliar body, Charlie then immediately takes on the special skills of his respective host: as a violinist he plays the violin, as a boxer he hits, as a seagull he flies to the next nest and as an older lady he grumbles at his fellow dolls. So ideal conditions to solve the multitude of puzzles that the developers of Double Fine put in his way to rescue siblings.

Multiple approaches

On each of the four major locations in the game, you have to free one of Charlie's siblings. On the huge cruise ship, for example, we do this by persuading the four "famous adventurers" to mutiny against the despotic captain on the boat. How we do this is up to us, for every puzzle there are at least three, sometimes five possible solutions.

For example, the big game hunter angrily trudges to the captain when his shooting range is closed due to chaos. The simplest solution: We clamp behind the ball cannon and just shoot around wildly until the deck supervisor intervenes. A little more elaborate: We take over a seagull and flutter with it into the hunter's secret chamber, where we slip into a bear doll. As Meister Petz, we then storm the safari shooting range with a loud roar and thus provoke a closure. The solutions are so different and the characters involved and the comments of the fellow puppets so funny that you like to tackle each puzzle several times.

Briefly with stretches

As an additional activity besides the actual puzzles, the so-called caper tasks attract. As an illusionist, for example, we cover ten figures with a funny checkered pattern. In addition, there is a set of figures in each location that Charlie is supposed to complete. In the station, for example, the entire crew of a train with a conductor, stoker and decoy.

As funny as the main puzzles are, the additional tasks turn out (höhö) to be pure playtime flayers, but they have no real impact on the actual adventure. Stacking is a comparatively short game: if you just run through and are satisfied with the first solution to the puzzle, you will see the end after just three hours. Tinkerers and complete freaks should be busy around six hours - that's not necessarily long even for a download game.

Cardboard with chamber music

The stacking graphic style is unique. Although the figures have no character animations or facial expressions worth mentioning, they convey all emotions in a comprehensible manner. Above all, the very successful chamber music with which the game is played helps. In addition, there is the handicraft look, which looks like a talented artist has let off steam with paper and cardboard.

Cutscenes are common (with every puzzle solution) and in the style of silent films, complete with flickering and text panels. There is also a small point of criticism: With voice output, the bizarre characters would look even better, but this is pretty much left to the player's imagination. And if he is also lazy to read, he may not be happy with stacking. But if you are not afraid of unusual game concepts and wacky humor, you can get the stacking dolls on your PC.