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When you play a game and you’re constantly asking yourself “WTF?!”, you know that it’s made an impression on you. This was the case with me when playing Convict Games’ debut title, STONE.
Stone is fun, but flawed. The story is well crafted and reveals itself through a series of twists that keep you engaged throughout. There is no action aside from walking up to different people or items, but the game never drags. As much as I love the story here, the dialogue is strained at times and has glitches that affect the timing. Overall a worthy experience and story to enjoy.
All of Stone's systems work to create a quirky little game with a bunch of things going for it and almost as many things that can detract from it.
STONE isn’t a BAD game, in some ways, it showcases a game unlike many on the market and the fact that it features an LGBT relationship and has some adult themes is interesting. It’s unlike anything I’ve played for a while and its story and characters did intrigue me. But I was left a little disappointed. For two hours of gameplay, it just comes off feeling a little unpolished and lack-luster. It has some cool aspects and is probably a game you could really unpack if you had to write a 1000 word essay on it. But unless you’re the audience these guys intended it for, I might suggest you give this one a miss.
STONE, like its protagonist, is bloody rough. Channelling the tough on the outside, soft on the inside of its literary inspirations—Post Office, for example—STONE's buggy visuals and lack of polish almost exist as a statement in themselves. By presenting a story about an unkempt rebel's life, the choppy visuals benefit the game. Overall, the experience's worth will be strongly dependent on the player. Similarly to most great arthouse experiences, sometimes viewers must ignore the dodgy presentation and appreciate the heart of the piece. STONE, and its protagonist, have a lot of heart, and that shines the most.
STONE is a quick two-hour dip into the fair dinkum world of Stone, a bloke with a good heart, but needing a right knock on the noggin as he can be a bit of a drongo. A bit more hard yakka could have pushed STONE into something bigger, but it's still a bit of a larrikin and possibly best enjoyed with a cold one or two.
STONE's writing can swerve between fantastic and terrible at the drop of a hat. Considering this is the most important part of the game, it's a shame it couldn't be more consistent in its quality.
Overall, I was able to beat this game in less than two hours. There is very little in the way of a story except for being a lonely Koala Bear looking for his mate. He is depressed most of the game and nothing good happens. I don't feel any personal connection with the characters, and pretty much beat the game just to see what happened.
STONE is an amorphous title, an elliptical point-to-point simulator, the level zero of interactivity.
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