A Story About My Uncle Review: With the Greatest of Ease

The other elements of the title, like its world and its story, are less fleshed out, although they too fit well within its framework of childish wonder. Environments themselves are slick-looking and often gorgeous, ranging from dank caves lit by bioluminescent plants, to floating boulders ringed by airships, to icy mountaintops. There’s a slow-burning narrative to go with these locations: the titular uncle has disappeared into this strange world, and befriended its amiable frog-people inhabitants, but they don’t know where he is, either. You set off through their villages to find the man, meet a few folks along the way, and generally do a lot of platforming.

There’s unfortunately not a lot to A Story About My Uncle beyond that simple synopsis. You spend some time with one of the world’s strange inhabitants and learn a bit about her, but there’s not really much of a story here in general. The world developer Gone North Games creates seems like a fun and interesting one, but there’s not much other than a thin veneer, and you’re just passing through.

And while the platforming in the game generally feels solid, intuitive, and forgiving in terms of elements like just how close to an edge is too close, or how much speed you need to build up before a running leap, it can struggle with maintaining an even experience. The grapple can only be used a few times in succession, and there are areas especially toward the end of the game that border on frustrating. Because of the nature of perceiving depth in first-person games, there were more than a few points where I turned, expecting to grapple to safety, only to realize I was too far away before falling and restarting an area. Some spots will definitely try players’ nerves.

Beyond those few instances, however, its A Story About My Uncle’s thinness that really undercuts it. The game itself is only a few hours long — I finished it in a single session one afternoon, before dinner — and it feels like it ends just as the world is starting to really be revealed. The story never amounts to much, and generally it would have been nice to just have … well, more.

For what it is, though, A Story About My Uncle accomplishes its goal of creating a feeling through controls that many games aspire to, but fail to grasp. My biggest takeaway from the game was wishing there was more of it; the game does a phenomenal job of making it exciting merely to be present in and move about its world, if only for a fleeting visit.

Pros:

  • Movement is fun and exciting, making merely being present in the world a blast
  • Mostly solid platforming controls generally make interpreting puzzles quick and easy; it’s rare that you slip off a cliff because character size feels off, for example
  • Game world is largely beautiful and interesting to explore, even if it doesn’t pay off much
  • Puzzles ramp up in difficulty and generally stay clear of being frustrating, instead often allowing for a few open interpretations of how to progress through them
  • Bedtime story narrative adds to the overall atmosphere of childlike wonder and exploration

Cons:

  • Altogether too short and generally thin; story doesn’t amount to much and little time is psent developing a world that had a lot of potential
  • Difficulties in judging depth get frustrating in some of the harder puzzles, like when you’re swinging from falling stalactites and can’t seem to hit that next grapple point
  • A few tough difficulty swings can result in some frustrating points that require some toil to clear

Final Score: 75/100


A Story About My Uncle was reviewed using a copy purchased from Steam. GameFront employs a 100-point scale when reviewing games to be as accurate about the experience as possible. Read the full rundown of what our review scores mean.


Phil Hornshaw is senior editor at GameFront. Read more of his work here, and follow him and GameFront on Twitter: @philhornshaw and @gamefrontcom.

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1 Comment on A Story About My Uncle Review: With the Greatest of Ease

SweetPea

On August 22, 2014 at 4:53 pm

I haven’t even heard of this game, so thanks for the review. It looks really cool.

And I’d like to add Bionic Commando (the 2009 version) to the list of games with great movement. I actually had to complete it twice, simply because moving around was so much fun.