Stacking, the downloadable video game of Russian nesting dolls (matryoshkas) and cuteness, has occupied me for four nights now. Of course, the game really only takes about four nights to play, which is the down side: this game needed to be so much longer. It took that long to get 100% completion because 1) I’m OCD like that and 2) with a game that’s so short there’s no reason not to. Still, Stacking is probably one of the most genuinely enjoyable games I’ve played in ages and it has the best cute scene ending ever.
The premise is that you’re Charlie Blackmore, the tiniest member of a family of chimney sweeping nesting dolls, and your family is kidnapped by the Baron, who really loves child labor and has lots of money. Also your best friend is a hobo … that has a bindle. Bindle! You hijack other dolls to solve puzzles that lead you one step closer to finding your family and also are awesome because you’re the main character in the best video game ever. Plus it’s in the style of a silent film!
Okay so clearly I love this game, it’s just so darn smart, and even though it’s short there’s very little repetition. It’s clever like Professor Layton, but without that nasty “putting you to sleep” thing (that’s not just me, is it?) and some of the dolls are just hilarious. It’s rare for me to chuckle aloud at how smart a video game is, but Stacking made it happen.
A lot of people bring up the “rude” humor (ie: the farting doll), but it didn’t bother me and I’m a total prude. I mean, it’s a world of dolls, take the wonderfully silly premise for what it is and just enjoy it. The game isn’t “gross out” humor, it’s just very lighthearted; it’s not a serious game and it knows it’s not a serious game. Nowadays every darn video game seems to want you to get married in game or weep aloud during the ending or some other such dramatic nonsense, bah! Who needs it? The script of Stacking is kept light and short (similar to Pikmin) because it knows that it’s not there to make us feel anything aside from joy and amusement.
Visually the game is perfection, there were times that I could not believe that this wasn’t a full-priced game. I recommend it to everyone with a pulse and I pray to the video game gods that downloadable content extras will be made available. Also, for the record, my favorite doll? The Widow Chastity.