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Stacking XBox 360 Review - -

Gameplay 6.0
Graphics 7.0
Sound 7.0
Value 6.0
Developer: Double Fine Productions
Review Date:
March 2011
Hayley Clements



Stacking is a fresh new idea for a game that goes outside the box. It is creative in its style and story. In this new downloadable game for Xbox 360 and PS3, Double Fine has refined themselves and produced and pretty enjoyable game. Though it is cheap to download, it still offers hours of fun and puzzle solving.

Stacking starts off with an interesting intro. You meet your family, the Blackmores, a little family of Russian Matryoshka Dolls (nesting doll), and the main character you play through the game with. His name is Charlie Blackmore. Your father leaves for work and never comes back, leaving your little matryoshka doll family vulnerable. Soon your family is taken away from you, aside from your mother, to work off your family’s debt. You are left behind because out of all your family, you are the smallest, and seemingly the only matryoshka doll that is so little. This allows you to be a hero because little Charlie can fit into any other doll!

As Charlie, your goal is to find your family and get them back. However, that is not as easy as it may sound, because your brothers and sisters are not in the same place. You have to find them one by one, to complete your family again. Your first task is to find one of your brothers, who is forced to shovel coal since the workers started a protest and refused to work anymore until they are given nutmeg on the lunch menu. Once you get them granted their wishes, at the cost of a portion of their paycheck, you reunite with your brother only to find you must next find your sister.

One of the neat things about this game is the stacking system. Once you find a doll that is exactly one size bigger then little Charlie, you can keep stacking one size up to collect multiple dolls at once! Each doll also has a special ability you can use to progress you through the game. Dolls with special abilities that pertain to the current task are highlighted with blue to indicate they are important. In order to stack inside another doll, once you have the right sized doll, you get behind them and press ‘Y’. This will put you inside the other doll allowing you complete control of it and its abilities. To unstack, simply press ‘B’ and you leave the largest doll you have equipped, uncovering the next largest doll.

Once you have the right doll for the job, it’s your turn to figure out exactly what to do with that doll. In order to reach your first brother, we stacked into The Widow Chastity doll. Her special ability is “seduce”. The animation for this ability is funny, and its effect on the other dolls is a good indication on just how much this game has to offer. Playing through again and finding different ways to complete this challenge will reveal another solution to this problem. Hopping into the Mechanic doll, you can unlatch a vent and enter the vent, which will also reach your objective as well. Keep this in mind as you play the game, because there is not always just one solution to the problem! Each single doll inspires reactions in the other dolls, giving you so many options and different ways to complete your objectives, or even limitless ways to explore and play through the game.

The games graphics are crisp and clean. The camera movement and effects are done well, blurring out and focusing at different parts of the screen, in a fluid manner, leaving you no complaints in that area. The Dolls are attractive and colorful, and each has their own little flare to them, turning a simple idea into a neat world to sink into. Some of the dolls animations are quite funny, making for some humorous game play, as well as some humorous cut scenes.

The sounds in this game really make it stylish. The music is mostly classical music that really portrays the mood of the scene or area. The sound effects and background noises also are done well, making this game very stimulating to the ears. The dialog on the other hand is done through text as if it were an old silent film. At first, this might seem silly, but eventually it proves to be a great move on the creator’s part. It truly helps inspire the feel of an older time, and a completely different era.

In all this game is fun and quirky, leaving you with hours of game play and a bunch of laughs along the way. For the low price of this game, the punch it packs is impressive. While the games focus seems to be more about the story then the game play its self, the game is still very fun to play through and figure out all of the puzzles in the game. For any puzzler, RPGer, mystery lovers, or even the casual gamer, this game would be a great investment.

Game hard, play happy!

Hayley Clements
Impulse Gamer
United States Team Writer


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