Where do I begin about this first-person platform adventure known as A Story About My Uncle? I saw it was a first-person platform adventure game and I thought, “That’s interesting blend…mixing platformer with adventure and making it first-person.” After all, VALVe Corporation made it relatively work with Portal and Portal 2 (both of which are more along the lines of puzzle-platformer, but I digress).
In A Story About My Uncle, you play as an English-speaking Swedish boy (evidenced by his uncle’s house being in a snowy location and the fact that Gone North Games is based in Stockholm) who visits his uncle’s house to find his uncle nowhere to be found. The game’s plot is told as a bedtime story by the now-adult boy to his young daughter (despite speaking English, you can hear accents in almost everyone’s voices). He finds a strange power suit that fits him perfectly and sets off to find his uncle in a far-off land via a sort of energized launch pad. By way of the suit, the boy can’t get hurt from falling and uses an energy beam from his right glove like a grappling hook. These all integrate into the platforming aspect of the game as you traverse wide rivers, deep chasms, and (seemingly) bottomless pits in pursuit of the boy’s uncle. Along the way, you can discover notes and evidence of some experiments that the boy’s uncle was doing, including frog eggs. Said frog eggs eventually developed into what I dub as homo amphibia, or frog people. The first of the frog folk you meet is a girl named Madeline, or Maddy, who helps you look for the boy’s uncle, who she looks up to as a sort of father figure rather than a close friend as she tells the boy.
The gameplay was really solid for a platformer. As I went back through each map, I discovered new shortcuts to travel through in the extra “time trial” mode, although the gold medal times still leave me wondering how one
would could traverse the entire map in such a short amount of time. You get to use the powers of the suit to make these really cool powered high jumps up cliffs and long jumps across lengthy gaps. Eventually, you come across an upgrade for your suit: rocket boots. These things can be handy in a pinch but utter hell if you’re looking in the wrong direction when they fire. The environments were beautiful (at least the outdoor scenes) and I stopped a couple times to really take in the view before continuing on my way. If you know what you’re doing, you can really feel the flow of running, jumping, and swinging through the maps. However, the game does come with its faults. There were some times where the level was ridiculously unfair. One particular part was towards the end of the story, when you have to cross a zigzagging cavern that’s filled with nothing but breakaway stalactites and the only real way to cross it was by quick pointing at the next target (which is a lot more difficult than it looks and sounds) while using only two charges on the gauntlet per swing (using the third prevents you from shooting a crystal to restock on charges, leaving you to freefall into the pit below and starting over from the last checkpoint). Needless to say, I swear I had to do this particular part over at least twelve times before finally getting through it on what I’d call a stroke of luck. There also isn’t a whole lot to the story either, I’m afraid, because when you [REDACTED FOR SPOILERS]. The entire game can be played through in roughly four to six hours, not counting the time trial versions of each level, so in that regard, I really wish there was a lot more to the story than everything that I experienced. It does, however, give you one last playable epilogue for some final closure, but again, I wish there could have been more to the story.
Beyond this, A Story About My Uncle was very enjoyable, and the fact that it was a platformer in first-person view made the jumps and whatnot that much cooler to do (I could imagine the wind blowing in my ears as I soared through the sky). The game’s worth a look for a playthrough, but not much else unless you want to continue running the time trials to beat the game in a faster time. Pick up this game for $12.99 on either Steam or GOG and give it a go.
Verdict: 7/10 (Bite It and Leave It)
+ Breathtaking environment || + Platforming makes you feel like you’re soaring
= Very noticeable accents in some of the voice overs if they were trying to speak perfect English
– Some frustrating areas leave very little room for error || – Very short and can be played in a single afternoon