Double Fine generally produces some fine games and Stacking is certainly one of them. Stacking is a puzzle game which teeters on the casual line. It’s gameplay and core concepts are based on the Russian matryoska stacking dolls, hence the name: Stacking. You play the smallest doll of them all, named Charlie as you set out on a quest to rescue your chimney-sweeping family from the evil industrialist Baron. If you haven’t already guessed, Stacking is set in a miniature Victorian world inhabited by matrioyska dolls. Even the cut scenes are presented like silent movies on a stage. It is not quite to the same scope as Brutal Legend as it is less than 10 hours long, and it’s not quite to the same calibre as Psychonauts, but Stacking upholds the fine name of Double Fine.
The core gameplay is based around stacking inside larger dolls, up to about 4 or 5 dolls and using this to solve all the puzzles in a level to progress. There are dozens of types of dolls of all different sizes and each has it’s own ability. These abilities are mostly used to solve the puzzles, though sometimes all you need to do collect a certain set of dolls or make your way to hard to reach place. I have more or less summed up the entire game. Stacking is relatively simple to play with limited controls including movement, stack, unstack and talk. One of the great things is that all the puzzles have multiple solutions. When I said the game is less than 10 hours long, that is if you complete the game 100%. You could probably knock it out in three. I call this a casual game because the game play is relatively easy, several puzzle solutions being obvious while a hint system exists for if you get stuck (unlikely).
An example puzzle would be when you have force a room full of people to vacate so you can get the trains moving again. I did this by stacking into a flatulent doll and farting into a vent (and then proceeded to use that doll whenever possible). But after solving the puzzle, I could immediately solve it again by luring the guard away with a couple of flirty gestures from an attractive doll.
Stacking does have the charm factor turned all the way up with a saloon soundtrack, a miniature world and an unlikely hero. When all the dolls get excited, they jump up and down, like they’re being moved with an invisible hand. Stacking doesn’t take itself too seriously. It was produced as a small side project while Double Fine were working on Brutal Legend and feels like one too. While I was happy with the $10 purchase, I would not pay more than that as there’s just not enough substance overall.Cover Image
Next review in 3 weeks will be a bunch Android games