Developer: Atmos Games
Publisher: Serenity Forge
Platform: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Category: Adventure, Puzzle, Platformer & Action
Release Date: October 25, 2018 (EU & NA)
Pinstripe is a 2D action-adventure puzzler developer and published by Atmos Games, which is a single-man studio headed by Thomas Brush. You can tell Thomas left his mark all over Pinstripe with a macabre, yet charming art style. It was five years in the making before landing on PC and Xbox, and now Nintendo Switch owners can take part in this strangely intriguing title.
You take control of Teddy, an ex-minister of a church that attempts to get his daughter Bo back from the evil Mr. Pinstripe who abducted her at the beginning. Regarding the art style of Pinstripe, I noticed that indie horror titles have done an excellent job of stylizing their games and the first thing you’ll notice in Pinstripe is how interesting and beautiful the art style is. You are put into an eerie snow-covered landscape, populated semi-normal people with odd traditions and I found the art style to be one of the more impressive parts of this adventure.
The 2D water painting look of winter made it seem foggy and cold which further drove home Pinstripe’s eerie mysticism like many other indie titles with a dark and edgy undertone. Pinstripe gives a careful thread to follow as you will realize its symbolic meaning and this is normally done by making symbolism vague and hard to understand. Hence why when you’re finished with one playthrough, you’ll want to go through it again in hopes of uncovering more snippets of the hidden narrative.
Pinstripe has presented a narrative that instead of being difficult to understand balances symbolism, foreshadowing, and context items to convey an understandable narrative. However, even if the narrative most likely goes over your head the first time, it’s ending hits all the right notes and makes a second playthrough more understandable. In fact, if you even can comprehend the main thrust of the story the first time, a second playthrough is still warranted and will most likely provide a new appreciation for its story. You are also given a New Game+ option, just giving you more reason to delve back into this strange universe.
The story of Pinstripe takes about two hours to complete and with the amount of lore-like items available, this is where multiple playthroughs come into play. While the narrative is effective, the length makes it difficult to present a deep narrative and the plot is told well enough, but doesn’t really feature any “aha” moments. I feel the story would have been much better if it had more time and assets to play with.
Gameplay-wise, Pinstripe features some platforming sections that, while not terrible, aren’t of the highest quality. The world is presented in a 2D aesthetic and features many of the same controls as a basic side-scrolling platformer. Early on, you find Bo’s sling-shot and it can be fired in all different directions to fight enemies and solve puzzles. The combat and physics in Pinstripe are adequate, but extremely simplistic, to the point of there being no challenge when facing enemies or even bosses.
Puzzle solving was a highlight of Pinstripe and were very pleasant to solve. There was a wide range of different puzzle types crammed into this two hour experience. Puzzles include point-and-click logic based solutions that never were frustrating to go through, and there’s also a few more traditional puzzles, such as finding the difference between two pictures or unlocking certain contraptions by spinning a locks a certain way. For many of the adventure style puzzles, you’ll have to look for various clues and items you have picked up in your inventory.
You can look at all your items in-depth in the item menu and you’ll be able to examine them as a three-dimensional object. Sometimes rotating the items presented more of a challenge than it should be, but this was only a minor complaint. You will have to use these items to solve certain puzzles, but they were never too difficult like many hardcore point-and-click experiences on the Switch.
Overall, Pinstripe is a dark fairy tale with simple, yet enjoyable puzzles and a narrative that is elaborate enough to be interesting. While the gameplay length is a tad too short and the puzzle gameplay sections are too simplistic, I can easily recommend Pinstripe for those looking for something different. If you’re a fan of original indie titles that have unique art styles, Pinstripe is the game for you.
The Verdict: 7/10
*Review Key Provided by Atmos Games
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This post was written by minusthebrant