Delores: A Thimbleweed Park Mini-Adventure (Mac): COMPLETED!

This free sort-of-followup to Thimbleweed Park came out as a surprise recently, so of course I picked it up. It’s built using assets from the original game, as an experiment or prototype, but aside from being short it’s a properly playable thing.

You control Delores, one of the characters from the first game, who has returned to Thimbleweed Park after a year away. She’s taken a temp job as a photographer for the local paper, and the aim of the game is to take 30 photos for various news stories, each fitting specific criteria.

To get the right shot, you often have to solve point-and-click puzzles, whereas others are just reinterpreting the request or being a bit creative with what is around you.

There’s an odd quirk where the game quits (intentionally) after every five photos are returned to the paper, which means that when reloaded sometimes there are tasks that have reset and you have to repeat (and yet others that haven’t), but the whole game is pretty short so it’s not really a problem.

A fun little diversion, especially if you enjoyed Thimbleweed Park, like I did.

Wheels of Aurelia (Mac): COMPLETED!

This has been very cheap on the Switch several times, and the graphic style piqued my interested. However, I’d never bought it because reviews put me off – it’s not the driving game it appears, it’s incredibly short, and there’s very little to it. But a free copy on Epic Games? Ah, gwan then.

The reviews were right. Although there is driving, it’s little more than a mechanism to tell the story. You can’t really crash, the car will actually drive itself if you let go of the controls, and the only interaction you need to do is decide to pull over to pick up hitchhikers or to choose a route when you come to one of the very infrequent junctions.

No, the game is actually a narrative discovery game rather than a driving game. Set in 1978, you play a woman called Lella who decides to go on a road trip. Along the way, you meet people and discuss music, politics, feminism, abortion, and Italy at the time. It’s sort of interesting, learning a bit of history and about the neo-nazis who were around then, but the dialogue is disjointed and seems to be arranged randomly. I suspect it’s mainly due to the localisation, but the result is that the main bit of the game doesn’t really work – it’s all unnatural conversations and unusual grammar.

It was short, and didn’t make a lot of sense, and although there are other endings it still felt like a slog despite the length so I don’t think I’ll be playing it again.