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Platforming fans, you should play A Story About My Uncle

Creamium

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Mar 10, 2005
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A Story About My Uncle
Gone North Games
Platform: PC
(Steam, GMG, GoG)

A Story About My Uncle is a first person platforming game that unfortunately slipped under the radar a bit. There are a lot of Mirror's Edge fans out there who've been itching for more first person platforming... Well here you have it.

A father tells his daughter the story of how he tracks down his lost uncle. You inherit the magic grappling hook he's invented, your main traversal tool in the game. Don't let the title fool you, the focus of this game is pure (first person) platforming. If you're into Mirror's Edge, Portal (momentum) and Bionic Commando, you're gonna love this.

Gameplay trailer

The game is short (2 to 4 hours), but pretty challenging. The first levels focus on the grapple glove and momentum based jumps, but later you also find jet boots, which let you boost in the air once. A few gifs that show some more advanced action. (Gifcam'd these, sorry if the quality isn't optimal)




You can see the mid air dash here. This is a great 'panic mode' move, because this gives you an extra chance to find something to grapple on to.


In this gif you also see crystal recharging. You can only use the grapple 3 times mid air, but this recharge allows you to continue swinging, as long as you hit a crystal.

These moves are used extensively in the last stages, which can be tough. There are frequent checkpoints though, and retries are instant.
The platforming in this game can be exhilarating. It's very fun to chain grapples together and propel yourself high up, then hold your breath as you struggle to reach the landing platform.

Levels look really nice as well. Downsides are abysmal voice acting and bad character/creature designs, but luckily that's not essential to this game. Even though there's a story element, this is a pure platformer. With time trials as an extra for the hardcore.











 

Vinc

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Mar 8, 2014
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This game looks so fantastic. I've been wanting to play it, I hope it comes to consoles.
 

Davey

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Jan 30, 2014
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Power Glove support or nothing!!

Just kidding, looks AWESOME!! Even for me that don't even want to have anything to do with First person games! :O
 

Marjar

Banned
Oct 17, 2012
2,468
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I played it. It's very short, only about 2-3 hours, and honestly the story of it felt pretty ham fisted and tried too hard to be emotional. Let's just say it made me roll my eyes a little too much.

The platforming itself is pretty good, aside from the stuff near the end that is rather annoying. It's a good game with a great gameplay mechanic that could use a bit of polish.
 

MigueelDnd

Member
Jan 16, 2012
2,042
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México
Wow, judging from it's name I was expecting one of those 2D indie platformer or something. Not this.
I'd love to play it, but there's no way my PC is running that smoothly. I'll gladly give it a go if it comes out on consoles.
 

Adam_Roman

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Jun 4, 2013
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It was pretty fun, but I hated the shoehorned story and the way it showed you the path to take with the little emblems. It would've been amazing if they implemented Hydra support so you could grab something and alter your trajectory further by yanking in different directions or something, but that's a lot to ask for an indie dev to support a poor-selling controller.
 

Creamium

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Mar 10, 2005
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I played it. It's very short, only about 2-3 hours, and honestly the story of it felt pretty ham fisted and tried too hard to be emotional. Let's just say it made me roll my eyes a little too much.

The platforming itself is pretty good, aside from the stuff near the end that is rather annoying. It's a good game with a great gameplay mechanic that could use a bit of polish.
Yep, like I mentioned, the stuff not essential to the platforming is pretty bad, mainly the voice acting and character models. Since it didn't get in the way of the action too much, I didn't mind.

Platforming's just well done. I love that they added the air dash and made it work.
 

Wozman23

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Feb 18, 2013
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I"ll mirror some others' thoughts:

Gameplay and art direction are definitely its strong points.

The character models were very odd, the story was nothing special, and the difficulty in the end got a bit frustrating given the trial and error approach.

However, the jump, dash, and grapple mechanics were very satisfying when used efficiently, and the surreal atmosphere was lovely.
 

Creamium

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Mar 10, 2005
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Just found out the game gets 20% better when you set voice volume to 0 in the options. Recommended!
 

BGMNTS

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Jan 29, 2013
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It looks gorgeous and if it came out on 360 i'd buy it on a cheeky whim but there's something about first person platform that just doesn't sit right with me.
 

EhoaVash

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Aug 20, 2012
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Eh while I love platforming, first person view isn't going to cut it. Shit is vomit inducing.
 

Skyzard

Banned
Jun 3, 2012
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I heard the platforming was good so I grabbed it while it's 50% off. I can always do with more 1st person platformers.
 

rjc571

Banned
Jun 23, 2012
8,109
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Got it on the humble store sale for $4.41. I played the first two levels and it's really great! It pulls off the combination of precise platforming with extreme mobility better than any game I've ever played, putting Mirror's Edge to shame in that regard. It looks like it's going to be a really short game, but for the price I can't really complain.
 

rjc571

Banned
Jun 23, 2012
8,109
3
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And now after having finished the game I have to say that this is one of my top 5 favorite games of the year so far. I had actually been hoping for a game like this to come out ever since the start of the last generation: a platformer that takes advantage of powerful hardware to provide HUGE environments, while giving the player the ability to cover extreme distances with his movement and abilities, and forces you to use them in obstacle courses with vast areas of empty space in between safe zones. There have been a few games which attempt something like this before, but A Story About My Uncle is the first one to realize this concept to perfection.

The controls and mechanics are extremely tight, while the course design is awe-inspiring, often leaving you with a feeling of "how the hell am I supposed to do THAT?!" when you first approach a challenge, only to feel like a total boss after you discover the trick required and pull it off effortlessly. The varied jumping mechanics combined with the grapple beam and the space boots made for extremely intense and imaginative challenges which always managed to find new wrinkles to throw at the player without getting stale. And while it only took me 2.5 hours to beat, the replay value is through the roof; with gameplay that leads itself this well to both speedrunning and exploration, I can easily see myself going back to do the time trials as well as trying to find all of the hidden stuff I missed the first time around.

5/5 stars. Great game.
 

rjc571

Banned
Jun 23, 2012
8,109
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I like platforming, but first person platforming is pure evil.

Also pure motion sickness.
First person > third person when it comes to platforming. Easier to judge distances, and no ambiguity with where you're going to land.
 

UrbanRats

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Jun 25, 2009
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First person > third person when it comes to platforming. Easier to judge distances, and no ambiguity with where you're going to land.
No way, with a decent camera, there is no contest for me, third person all the way.
First person platforming is always super basic and slow, too, it's be impossible to play some of the harder levels in, say, Mario Galaxy or 3d world, in first person.
 

rjc571

Banned
Jun 23, 2012
8,109
3
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No way, with a decent camera, there is no contest for me, third person all the way.
First person platforming is always super basic and slow, too, it's be impossible to play some of the harder levels in, say, Mario Galaxy or 3d world, in first person.
Lolling so hard right now.

Try saying that again after playing this game.

The bolded sentence sounds like you're describing 3rd person view.
I don't even see how you can justify that position. It's not even arguable that depth is easier to judge from first person view. 3rd person platformers have to resort to putting a shadow directly underneath your character at all times (totally unrealistic) in order for players to land properly; with first person all you have to do is look down and you can see exactly where you're going to land.
 

VLiberty

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Oct 29, 2013
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Oh shit, that's amazing. My PC is shit though (at least my gfx card is), I seriously hope this will eventually come to consoles
 
Jan 7, 2009
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This game looks breathtaking, thanks for putting it on my radar. If the developers are reading, I would buy this in a heartbeat if it was on the PS4. Perhaps it can breathe new life into it like it did for Steamworld Dig.
 

rjc571

Banned
Jun 23, 2012
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For anybody who wants this to come to consoles: Trust me, you don't want to play it without a mouse.
 

rjc571

Banned
Jun 23, 2012
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The time trials are ridiculously hard. Took me an hour just to get bronze on the first level, and that was on a run where I only died once and took several badass shortcuts. I could maybe see myself getting down to silver, but the gold medal time seems impossible. Has anybody gotten any of the gold time trials?
 

UrbanRats

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Jun 25, 2009
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Lolling so hard right now.

Try saying that again after playing this game.
Ehm, that's exactly why i'm skeptical/not interested in playing this game though.
Because all my experiences with first person platforming were horrible.

I don't even see how you can justify that position. It's not even arguable that depth is easier to judge from first person view. 3rd person platformers have to resort to putting a shadow directly underneath your character at all times (totally unrealistic) in order for players to land properly; with first person all you have to do is look down and you can see exactly where you're going to land.
In a good platformer, the 3rd person view gives you a large point of view of the surroundings, making predictions much easier than with a 90 (or even less) degree FOV from first person.
You have more time to predict and have a concrete idea of the space around you, because it's all there on display at all times, which limits the confusion you get in something like Mirror's Edge, where every time you spin around you have all your geography shift around you, and you have to reassess your position in the world, so to speak.

Of course, we're talking about very instinctive and almost subconscious reactions, but it's why i find third person platformers much more interesting and satisfying to play, because i feel like i'm never fighting to understand what is going on on screen.

There is a problem with depth perception, but that is very easily solved by having a shadow as you mention, or even a decently placed camera (or by moving a 2d plane, even... 2d platformers are those that can get the crazier after all, because they have the least limitation in that sense).
 

rjc571

Banned
Jun 23, 2012
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Ehm, that's exactly why i'm skeptical/not interested in playing this game though.
Because all my experiences with first person platforming were horrible.
Which is why I'm telling you, in A Story About My Uncle the platforming is anything but basic and slow.

In a good platformer, the 3rd person view gives you a large point of view of the surroundings, making predictions much easier than with a 90 (or even less) degree FOV from first person.
You have more time to predict and have a concrete idea of the space around you, because it's all there on display at all times, which limits the confusion you get in something like Mirror's Edge, where every time you spin around you have all your geography shift around you, and you have to reassess your position in the world, so to speak.

Of course, we're talking about very instinctive and almost subconscious reactions, but it's why i find third person platformers much more interesting and satisfying to play, because i feel like i'm never fighting to understand what is going on on screen.

There is a problem with depth perception, but that is very easily solved by having a shadow as you mention, or even a decently placed camera (or by moving a 2d plane, even... 2d platformers are those that can get the crazier after all, because they have the least limitation in that sense).
In a 3rd person platformer your character always blocks your view as well. This is less of a problem when the camera is zoomed out, but zooming out makes it difficult to see and control your character. In 1st person, no such issues. A Story About My Uncle has an FOV slider that goes up to 120 IIRC, so FOV isn't an issue here either.

There's also the matter of aiming your grapple beam, which would have been much harder to do with precision if this was a 3rd person game. Trust me, this game benefits greatly from the first person view. As a 3rd person game, it would not work.
 

ichtyander

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Jan 23, 2013
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Thanks for this thread, I would've otherwise missed this wonderful gem. The platforming isn't too difficult but it does push the mechanics further than I expected, so that's good. I had a lot of fun with it and I love the heartwarming atmosphere, reminded me a bit of Twinsen's Odyssey. It's short but sweet, I really recommend it.
 

yatesl

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Jun 3, 2012
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Bit of a bump, but I figured I'd do it whilst it's on sale for the next day.

Also, a little tip for anyone who has a 120 or 144Hz monitor. \Documents\my games\A Story About My Uncle\ASAMU\Config\ASAMUEngine.ini, and search for the line MaxSmoothedFrameRate. Change this from 68 to your refresh rate +2 (e.g. 102, 122, 146).
 

Stevey

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Jun 21, 2014
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Bit of a bump, but I figured I'd do it whilst it's on sale for the next day.

Also, a little tip for anyone who has a 120 or 144Hz monitor. \Documents\my games\A Story About My Uncle\ASAMU\Config\ASAMUEngine.ini, and search for the line MaxSmoothedFrameRate. Change this from 68 to your refresh rate +2 (e.g. 102, 122, 146).
Cool, thanks.
I've owned it for quite some time, but never got round to playing it.