Welcome to “At a Glance” where first impressions mean everything! Ladies, gentlemen and other parkouring frog people, I present to you; A Story About My Uncle.
Movement has always been an aspect of gaming that is generally overlooked or at least underrated. Many series have based their entire hook off the freedom that movement can give a player, by leaping through a city in Mirrors Edge or flying for the first time around Princess Peaches Castle in Super Mario 64, games can often allow you to move in ways you could never dream of in real life and allows you to experience it first hand, far greater then a film or TV show ever could. The same thing can work the opposite way as well, forcing the player to move through a level at a snails pace. Examples of this would be say the early Thief titles or even the early Resident Evil games. Games certainly aren’t letting go of the fast paced movement speed as well, as both Dying Light and Sunset Overdrive are two huge AAA titles based around traversal. Today I am here to talk about a title that is all about movement, but with a touching story to back it up as well; today I am looking at A Story About My Uncle.
A Story About My Uncle is about a young boys journey to find his Uncle, much like the title suggests. The two are close, spending a number of adventures together across the years, but one day the uncle doesn’t return home. The nephew visits his house, only to find a strange suit capable of allowing the boy to jump ridiculous heights and grapple across large distances. The Nephew ends up finding himself far away from home in a world inhabited by frog type people and floating islands, but no sign of his uncle. It’s now up to you and your new friend Maddie to find him with nothing but your brain and new found grappling abilities.
The game has a nice story book feeling to it, which makes sense seeing as the entire game is narrated by a father telling a bed time story to his daughter. The narration is well done and the interaction between the father and daughter is very cute. This is a short narrative title, so the narrative is the main reason for the platforming and while its not exactly the most gripping tale of all time, it is interesting, if a bit predictable.
As I mentioned earlier, A Story About My Uncle’s gameplay is all about one thing, movement. On the whole the game is a parkour based first person puzzle platformer. As you progress through the game you will be moving across large levels with multiple ways of progression, but usually see you just trying to get to the end. You do this with the help of the suit your uncle built you, allowing you to not only jump abnormally high and across large caps with sprint jumps, but also has a grappling hook system built in. Simply left click on the area you want to grapple to and your pushed forward to it, but this does use up a single charge of the device. You start off with only one charge, but as you progress through the game you get more, changing the difficulty and complexity of puzzles across time. The game is at its core a narrative focused traversal platformer, so don’t expect any bosses, enemies or guns, the game is all about the movement, and while this may sound like it might get old, the feeling of leaping through the air across cannons, grappling from place to place is fantastic and remains fluid right until the end.
Visually the game is stunning and one of the best looking Unity games I have seen so far. The world design is fascinating, with large expansive caverns to beautiful wide landscapes of floating cities. Character designs on the other hand are a little rough, and while they get the job done, a little bit more polish would have be welcome, especially with Maddie seeing as we are going to be seeing a lot of her throughout the game. It’s not a massive issue, especially seeing as this title was made by a small team, but it is noticeable at times. The soundtrack is serviceable, but nothing exactly memorable, which is a shame, as some fast paced orchestral scores could have made the feeling of flying through the air all the more exhilarating.
Overall I can say I am very pleasantly surprised by A Story About My Uncle. While it has it’s problems, it is still an interesting idea, mostly well executed. If you’re looking for a short, interesting narrative focused title then I would definitely recommend A Story About My Uncle.
You can purchase A Story About My Uncle now on Steam for PC.