If your significant other were kidnapped, what lengths would you go through to find them? A self-described “Aussie stoner noir,” Stone sets out to answer this question over its roughly two-hour story. But is it a koala-ty experience?
In Stone, you play as the eponymous koala who wakes up one morning to find his bird boyfriend Alex is missing. Upon receiving a call stating that Alex has been kidnapped and that he’ll never be seen again, Stone decides to go searching for answers. What follows is a fairly generic mystery plot, although the stoner aspects of the game try to provide a few wrinkles in the genre. At the end of the day, the story was pretty predictable, yet still somewhat enjoyable. There are also a few loose ends that don’t get tied up, which is more annoying to me than the blandness of the story as a whole. Perhaps we’ll see a continuation down the line?
If you’re looking for some gripping gameplay, you’ll want to look elsewhere. Stone is basically a walking simulator, given that the entirety of the gameplay revolves around stumbling from point A to point B to progress the story. For a game like this, it works though. There’s no need for fast-paced action when all you’re doing is searching for your boyfriend. Pretty much every new location is divided into a new scene by loading screens too, which felt incredibly unnecessary given that each one is only a few minutes in length.
What I really don’t understand about the structure of Stone though is the availability of choices in where you can go. Early in the story, the game dictates where you must go, but starting around Act 2, you get to select a location yourself. However, there’s only ever one right, expressly defined answer; the rest is there largely just because it can be. The only optional place that offers anything of substance is the cinema, where you can watch a small handful of classic films (such as Night of the Living Dead) in their entirety. Other places, such as the sauna, have no real purpose and seem to be present only so you can pass the time. Given the two-hour runtime of Stone, though, you probably won’t need to take a break.
Stone is a weird game by every stretch of the imagination. What’s present isn’t bad — it just could have been a lot better. For a game in which the story is billed as the main focus, it says volumes that the plot does nothing to shine. Features such as the ability to watch a few classic movies are a nice touch but do little to tie into the actual game and feel like they were added just to create a selling point. If you’re looking to pass a couple hours, you can certainly do worse than Stone, though you can also do better.
Release Date: May 8, 2020
No. of Players: 1 player
Developer: Convict Games
Publisher: Convict Games
A review code was provided by the publisher.