More and more indie games are trying to tell interesting narratives that tackle tough subjects and deep themes. The latest to try its hand at this is Atmos Games’ Pinstripe. It tells the elegiac tale of Teddy (an ex-priest, not a bear) as he tries to rescue his kidnapped daughter from the hands of Pinstripe, a shadowy figure whom you meet near the beginning of the game. Teddy must make his way through a hellish landscape to save his daughter before it’s too late. Along the way, you piece together the tragedies that have occurred in Teddy’s life, as well as confront some of his demons. This story is well told with there being just the right number of hints and cues without appearing blatant.
All of this plays out as a two-dimensional platformer. In a Metroidvania-style, the map will gradually open up to you as you gain new equipment and learn new tricks. This isn’t so much about precise platforming, razor-sharp timing, and deadly attacks, though. Puzzles are the order of the day here. There are numerous light puzzles where you have to switch on a series of lights. Others are effectively a spot-the-difference challenge. There are even some number codes to figure out and skill-based puzzles to get past padlocks. Early on in the game, you’ll pick up a catapult that will allow you to destroy certain items and reach new areas. Later on, you’ll unlock flaming torches that, when you combine them with the catapult, allow you to blow up specific items to aid you in your quest. The path of progression is pretty smooth, and the game does a nice job of leading you on your way without holding your hand the entire time.
Visually, the game looks great. It has a lovely art style that sets it apart from a lot of the games out there. The quirky look of the characters slots in perfectly to the stylized world of the game. There are a couple of rooms that are a touch on the dark side; this can make it tough to figure out exactly where you are and where you’re going. These are definitely the exception rather than the norm, though. Generally, it is a beautifully designed world with interesting characters and locations. Most of the characters have recorded dialogue, and this is also done really well. Each voice fits their character nicely. It is all shot through with the same style and twisted universe that fills the rest of the game.
Pinstripe is a delightful little game. It has a great narrative and colorful characters, at least in terms of style and flair. The art style is lovely and the music fits well, adding nice texture without ever being obtrusive. It may be a little on the short side in terms of content, but this is a budget title. I completed the game in around three or four hours. The fact that the PC release of Pinstripe was made entirely by one man shines through and helps to give this a cohesive vision. If you’re a fan of titles like Limbo, Toby: The Secret Mine, and Little Nightmares, then Pinstripe is something you should check out.
A review code was provided by the publisher.