A Story About My Uncle
Gameplay 9
Graphics 9
Sound 9

A Story About My Uncle is a unique game which offers plenty of heart stopping moments, despite the fact that there is nothing to kill and no violence. Instead you traverse some beautiful locations using an energy beam style grappling hook. The game is unfortunately a little on the short side, but makes up for it with extras and bonuses that increases the longevity. The game is quite an achievement considering the small team that made it and should definitely be high on your wish list.

Gameplay: The feel of grappling over yawning chasms is exhilarating.

Graphics: Beautiful visuals and some breathtaking locations.

Sound: The audio is great, although the voice acting sounds a bit off at times

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A Story About My Uncle

Developer: Gone North Games | Publisher: Coffee Stain Studios | Release Date: 2014 | Genre: Adventure / Casual / Indie | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

We have searched for many people, places and objects in games before, but this is probably the first time that the quest is to locate an uncle. This is exactly what you do in A Story About My Uncle, a charming platform adventure from the Swedish based studio, Gone North Games. The uncle of the protagonist has gone missing and instead of informing the authorities, the boy does the next best thing and straps on a high-tech suit that he finds in his uncle’s house before launching himself into a mysterious new world.

The story of the game is narrated by the now much older protagonist telling it to his daughter as a bedtime story. As you explore the beautiful new world the narrator explains what he did and why which is a very cool feature. You’ll also encounter items in the gameworld that cause his daughter to ask questions prompting the narrator to further flesh out the story. The voice acting is generally quite good, although some of the lines from the protagonist sound a bit off. The rest of the characters sound fine though, and the narration doesn’t detract from the atmospheric journey.

The game is viewed from a first person perspective which is always a concern when it comes to platforming adventures. ASAMU pulls it off quite well though, and it never felt like the chosen perspective was hampering the gameplay. Thanks to the gameplay mechanics and breathtaking visual landscape, the first person view actually makes the game even more immersive.

The mysterious world that you find yourself exploring is made up out of many small floating islands so solid ground is a scarce commodity in this game. Fortunately, the suit you found in your uncle’s house has a neat grappling hook which allows you to traverse the platforms. You can’t just go swinging around willy nilly though, as the suit only has a maximum of three grappling charges before it needs to be on solid ground to recharge. This means that if you are not in landing distance of something solid after you have expended the third charge you are in trouble. Later in the game new mechanics such as rocket boots and crystals that allow for recharging mid-air are introduced which allows you to traverse distances that would otherwise have been impossible.

The vertigo inducing grappling traversal is a big selling point for the game and rightfully so. Initially I blundered off platforms, mistimed grapples and went flying off into wrong directions, but once I mastered the controls and gameplay mechanic the game became a joy to play. Soaring through the air is quite a rush and not knowing if my character is going to nail a jump or land inches short of his target had me on the edge of my seat many times. There are some tricky sections, but the checkpoints are spaced apart very fairly and I never had to waste time redoing sections that I have already completed. The game doesn’t hold your hand though, so don’t expect a map or HUD to show you exactly where you have to go.

A few times I had to launch my character straight up into the air with a rocket powered jump so that I can survey his surroundings and try to plot a course. There are glowing markers left on floating rocks which help you to find your way, but a clear path is not always immediately obvious.

The landscapes in this game range from dark caves to open skies and everywhere you will see crystal encrusted floating islands. The art style is really colorful and beautiful which gives the game a nice fantasy feel. The game runs on the Unreal 3 engine, but the artists have made it their own with the vibrant gameworld that they have created. You’ll encounter some fantastical inhabitants as well and although they are not as impressive as the landscapes they do bring some life to the world. Don’t think that you can kill the poor creatures either as ASAMU is as non-violent as you can get. There are no guns, blood or gore and even if you fall to your doom the screen just fades to black before you are deposited back at the nearest checkpoint. While your path through the levels is fairly linear (after you figure them out of course) there is still some incentive for wandering off the beaten path. Finding items left behind by your uncle reveals more of the backstory and there are also collectables, in the form of research material that you can find to unlock new goodies like being able to select the color of your grappling beam. You’ll definitely want to take your time and search these out as not only are the unlockables very cool, but the game is also quite short. The story can be blasted through in just over three hours, but a Time Trial mode and some achievements will keep you coming back for more.

The audio in the game is quite mellow, which fits in nicely with the visuals and gameplay. Although none of the tunes will really stay in your head after playing, they do provide a nice atmospheric audio backdrop for the exploration and traversing. Like I mentioned, the voice acting is generally quite solid apart from a few lines here and there that just sound a little bit off. The controls are very responsive, although a keyboard and mouse combination definitely works best for some of the trickier sections.

A Story About My Uncle is a very imaginative title that uses its grappling and traversing gameplay mechanics very effectively. It also helps that the gameworld is so much fun to traverse and the beautiful visuals really draw you into the game. If you enjoyed games like Mirror’s Edge, but want a more vibrant and less violent experience then you should check out ASAMU. If you are not the type of person that cares about unlockables or time trials the game might be a little on the short side, but it is such an entertaining experience that you will definitely be drawn back for more.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows XP (SP3), Windows Vista (SP2), Windows 7, Windows 8
  • Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo, AMD Athlon X2, or equal at 1.6GHz or better
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: DirectX 9.0c-compatible, SM 3.0-compatible
  • DirectX: Version 9.0c
  • Hard Drive: 2 GB available space
  • Sound Card: DirectX 9.0c-compatible, 16-bit
  • OS: Windows 7 or 8
  • Processor: QuadCore 2.0 GHz+
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: DirectX 9.0c-compatible, SM 3.0-compatible, 1024MB VRAM+
  • DirectX: Version 9.0c
  • Hard Drive: 4 GB available space
  • Sound Card: DirectX 9.0c-compatible, 16-bit

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