A Story about my Uncle Review

Gone North Games introduces to us their original, first person, platforming game “A Story about my Uncle”. A game about jumping through the air at incredible speeds and grapple-hooking from floating rocks and windmills. Our protagonist puts his daughter to sleep and tells her a bedtime story about his adventure to find his uncle Fred, who went on a mysterious adventure and never came back. Put on the incredible suit your uncle has crafted and travel to a wonderful, distant world.

The game begins in uncle Fred’s house, where a younger version of our hero-narrator has come to find his uncle. Going upstairs he discovers an adventure suit just like his uncle’s, but made especially for him. He puts on the suit and head for the mysterious observatory. His curiosity gets the better of him and he pulls a lever his uncle told him never to pull. Immediately he is transported to an exotic and physics-bending world of floating islands and odd life forms. In order to move from one place to another he must make use of the incredible powers the suit has to offer, such as higher jumps, falling damage protection, faster speed and best of all, the grapple hook he can use to swing from rock to rock and from isle to isle. Travelling through complex cave systems he will come across a tribe of frog people and will learn a lot about them, he will soar through the open skies and reach a cold, icy mountain.

The game’s story and is mostly streamlined and follows a linear path of platforming. However, for those of you who are more observant and like exploring a little more, there is content hidden in various places throughout the game, which sheds more light in certain aspects of the story that are not explained on the main path. This feature certainly adds a little more depth and worth to the story and drives us to put some more effort in discovering the secrets of this enigmatic land.

After my first playthrough I was surprised by the realization that no achievement notifications had popped up while playing the game. I thought “It can’t be, even smaller games feature achievements”, and then I looked over at Steam and I found there were achievements, but they are extremely difficult to earn. For example, one achievement challenges us to “Interact with all the optional story objects”, all of which are well hidden and very easy to miss. Other achievements require us to complete the various chapters of the story without falling down or by restricting how many times we can use the grappling hook down to a bare minimum, you get the idea. I wish the best of luck for those of you with enough patience to pursue the achievements! Jokes aside, I think this is a great way the game utilizes to keep us playing time and again and adds a significant challenge for those who are looking for it!

Let’s talk graphics now! I can say that I am definitely impressed by the aesthetics of “A Story about my Uncle”. Although the game adopts a cartoony style graphic-wise, which may not appeal to many people nowadays, it manages to do it justice. The landscapes look absolutely stunning and the lighting and shading manage to accent the beauty that is already there. The plants and the various buildings look well-made and fit the exotic setting of the land. The only problem I managed to find is the animation of the frog people. Their movement looks a little awkward, but I won’t be too harsh on it since these animations are very scarce and certainly not the main point of the game.

What I really didn’t like about this game was its short duration. I took me two hours to complete the story and I was left wanting more. The game has so much potential and I believe the content it offers is too little. The “Time Trial” mode it offers, while proves to be a good challenge for those who want to test their skills, does not really feel like it adds something new to the game. I would like to see more chapters with unique environments and more stories to explore. So, let’s hope that Gone North Games releases an expansion or even a second game.

We will find A Story about my Uncle on Steam at the price of 12,99€.


Verdict

A unique platforming game, A Story about my Uncle truly manages to impress us and proves to be quite the challenge many of us often look for in indie games. With a great, albeit short story it pushes us through many different environments, ranging from dark caves to open skies and icy mountains. Aesthetically, the game is very pleasing with breathtaking views and well-made textures and models. The few characters we meet on our quest to find our uncle offer us an insight to the mysteries of this land and it is left to us to uncover the remaining secrets. I wish the game had more content to offer, since it has so much potential, but I am greatly satisfied with what I got in the first place.


+A great platforming experience

+Very good work on the graphics

Short Story mode

Some awkward animations

Score: 8/10

-Dimitris “Onel” Zarachanis