Top Critic Average
Incredible Mandy is a great example of design by subtraction, focusing on puzzle-solving and atmosphere and eschewing mechanics which do not contribute to the developer’s singular vision. The result is a game which evokes a particularly introspective sensation in the player – if they are able to afford the game their patience and attention despite the lack of combat or narrative tension, then they will be met with rewarding puzzles and a comforting mood.
As much as I like twisty-turny stories, they have to at least be vaguely coherent, and Incredible Mandy layers so many strange plot developments onto each other that it’s borderline impossible to get a sense of what this game is actually about. The gameplay similarly suffers from some pretty serious issues, most notably an unwieldy camera prone to undermining your platforming with unexpected teleports and boss fights that are equal parts confusing and tedious.
Aside from the clunky controls and tedious animations, nothing about the game is really offensive, but there's just no hook that managed to keep me invested up to the end. The aesthetic is overall eye-catching, but it can't hide the fact that Incredible Mandy is simply not that incredible. There's nothing wrong with a simple game, but simplicity only works if there's a high level of polish to back it up.
I can't say Incredible Mandy is a bad game per se, but it is underwhelming and less than the sum of its parts. On sale, this might be an okay title for those who can embrace its mechanics and pacing. But I didn't enjoy most of its puzzles, and puzzles are its main offering.