Pinstripe PS4 Review

March 16, 2018 by  
Filed under PS4, Reviews & Features, PlayStation

Publisher: Armor Games  Developer: Atmos Games  Genre: Puzzle, Platformer  Players: 1

Age Rating: 12+  Other console/handheld formats: Xbox One

Looking a little like something from the mind of Tim Burton comes this eerily dark puzzle/platformer game from developer Thomas Brush. Pinstripe follows the story of ex-minister Ted, who goes on a journey through literal Hell to find his kidnapped daughter Bo, who is taken away by the titular character, the creepy Mr. Pinstripe.

The art style of the game is captivating, with muted colours and soft tones adding to the games overall sense of eeriness, and characters designed to have a gangly, almost ghost-like appearance. The creepy, typical English accents also helps to instil a sense of eeriness, especially the lyrical voice of Mr Pinstripe.

The text will give you some idea as to the games humour…

The dark tone is contrasted with the games quirky humour, there being the addition of some character interaction as Ted ventures along, meeting a few eccentric people along the way. The townsfolk seem to be a little off their heads though, all thanks to Mr Pinstripe’s distribution of Sack Juice, this worlds version of alcohol…

The story of course has an underlying message, and you find out more about Ted and his situation as the game progresses. You gather snippets of information, or clues, about what exactly has happened to Ted, and why he has found himself in this predicament. These clues Ted finds can be used to solve puzzles the game gives you, with Ted being able to examine items and objects for possible answers.

Gameplay is a mix of platforming and puzzles. Puzzles mostly consist of you going to different places to solve puzzles that will allow you to progress and access other areas, and then moving back and fourth throughout the world to solve more puzzles that have been revealed through completing previous ones. Puzzles are interesting enough, though not the most taxing, and are never tough enough that they will have you stumped for hours at a time.

Platforming sections, however, aren’t particularly challenging – for a platforming game, there is very little of it. You’ll jump from swinging planks to reach higher sections, but areas aren’t a task to reach, and there’s no consequences for falling from heights; Ted doesn’t die from falling from high grounds, and if he does fall into a chasm, he is simply placed back where he was. Puzzles are your main obstacle, hindering your progress instead of any death-defying leaps or jumps; it’s not a game that has placed heavy emphasis on its platforming.

Ted controls smoothly, though his jump does feel a bit sharp at times, and you’ll find that you can misjudge ledges when jumping from platform to platform, and when you are at higher grounds, it can be a bit of an annoyance having to trek back to where you.

Ted also makes use of a slingshot, used as a weapon to shoot down items and enemies – you could describe this game as a ‘shoot everything’ game, as you move a cursor on screen to aim your slingshot, shooting at anything that looks like it can be interacted with.

As Ted ventures around the level, like a traditional platformer there are Frozen Drops you can collect. They are placed in plain sight, dropped by enemies, or hidden inside pots and other objects that you can smash. Frozen Drops act as the worlds currency and are used to pay for items at Happy’s Shop.

Other weapons and items are available at Happy’s Shop, though unfortunately there’s not a lot of variety and the shop didn’t feel necessary at all (it is used twice as part of a couple of puzzles). The slingshot is helpful enough, so there isn’t any reason why you should bother upgrading, and other items aren’t interesting enough to bother buying.

Also, if you never realised you needed Frozen Drops in order to complete a puzzle involving Happy’s Shop later on, and have been buying willy-nilly, then you could get yourself into a bit of trouble.

It’s up to you to rescue Bo from the creepy Mr Pinstripe.

As fun as the game is to explore, there are a few annoyances, the first being that there can be quite a bit of backtracking, and especially if you do happen to become a bit confused as to what to do next. This backtracking may also be the reason why the platforming is toned down, to make it easier for the player to go back and fourth when needs be.

Ted also comes across a canine companion called George, who stays by his side throughout, and I feel he is rather underused. George will sniff out hidden mushrooms which Ted can jump on (like a bounce pad) to reach higher areas, but other than this, there’s not much reason for George to be here, and it would have been nice to see a couple of puzzles in which the pair have to work together to proceed.

There are also collectable items that Ted can find, one of such being a strip of film. You’ll also find some mini games, which can slow the pace down, and there are also multiple choice answers appearing when speaking with residents, these affecting the ending of the game.

As much fun as the game is to play, it felt like certain aspects of the game wasn’t needed, with some puzzles and mini games feeling added at the last minute just to give the gameplay some variety, and perhaps to flesh out the world and involve more characters. Most puzzles are implemented well, though the balance between puzzles and platforming could have been more even, with there being more emphasis on puzzles than the other.

Still, Pinstripe is still an interesting little title, and still manages to feel like a traditional platformer but with a modern twist and it certainly won’t put you through Hell to play.