The Misadventures of P. B. Winterbottom Review

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The Misadventures of P. B. Winterbottom Publisher: 2K Play (Take-Two Interactive)
Developer: The Odd Gentlemen


Platform: Xbox 360
Reviewed on Xbox 360

P. B. Winterbottom is a dastardly fellow. He gives not a thought to the havoc he has brought to Bakersburg. Winterbottom's sole passion is pinching pies, and he is unconcerned by the destruction he causes as he pilfers. Not a single pie will escape his grasp (or his jaws), consequences be damned. To make matters worse, this pastry thief encountered a mysterious Chronoberry Pie, which grants him the ability to shift himself in time, creating temporal clones that aid Winterbottom in his felonious feats.

Rating:
Kyle Ackerman


It was a pleasure to see a group of students sharing their larcenous pie-afficionado P B. Winterbottom in the student showcase of the 2008 Independent Games Festival, but not nearly as pleasing as actually playing the finished game. Winterbottom's prominent proboscis, eager eyes and sinister moustache make him the ideal, lightheartedly evil protagonist who sets the tone for The Misadventures of P. B. Winterbottom.

The time-manipulating platforming puzzle play at the heart of The Misadventures of P. B. Winterbottom is solid, entertaining puzzle fun, but it was the style of the game that positively captured my heart and full attention. The entire game is cast as an interactive silent movie, complete with scratches on the film, dialog cards and a brilliant soundtrack. The soundtrack alone, ranging from sinister silent-movie fare to variations on Big Ben's chimes, was entrancing enough that I repeatedly left the game on the pause menu to enjoy the (albeit brief and repeating) music.

The game is broken into a series of short films, each comprised of multiple puzzle stages and bracketed with screens to share the town's woes at Winterbottom's antics and the tale of his pursuit of the elusive Chronoberry Pie. Simply put, I love the story framework, with its rhyming verses and unhappy townspeople as Winterbottom gobbles comestibles.

The game itself involves a series of (usually) simple puzzles, in which Winterbottom can record his actions and have a temporal clone of himself replay those actions while he goes off on other business. He can then use those clones to trip switches, leap and catch pies or climb atop their stovepipe hats to reach high places. The puzzles get progressively more complicated, but are typically brief and satisfying exercises, leading to the conclusion of Winterbottom's tale. Each film adds new puzzle elements, leading to the final, decidedly theatrical sequences.

The various movie levels (accessible from a theater-like menu screen) are supplemented by short puzzle features in which Winterbottom must try to complete the level in a certain time, or using as few clones as possible. These are optional challenges that earn badges, achievements and positions on the online leaderboards. Most are straightforward, and only the later levels require nearly-flawless timing. While entertaining and certainly worthwhile, it's just that the enjoyment I derived from the puzzles themselves paled in comparison to the extent to which I loved the style of The Misadventures of P. B. Winterbottom.

The game is short if you don't try to complete all the short puzzle challenges, but I found the style and main game alone to be worth the $10 it currently costs, with the puzzle sequences simply offering more brainteasers and achievements to be won. Winterbottom may be a dastardly fellow, but he's a thoroughly entertaining scoundrel.

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This page contains a single entry by Editor published on March 7, 2010 12:03 AM.

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