Stacking is the second downloadable game from Double Fine. It uses Russian Dolls to make a unique third person puzzle adventure.
The game opens on a rather sad note. It tells a story of the Blackmore family, who's father disappeared and didn't return. The family went in debt and where force to work for an evil industrialist named The Baron. It's up to "Charlie Blackmore" to rescue his family and put a stop to the slavery. Whilst it's a sad way to start a game off, it does tell it in humorous ways throughout.
Stacking has a vintage theme and is set in the industrial times. You start off at a Royal Train Station. This is one of four locations you will visit on your journey. The Royal Train Station also acts as the hub which links the other environments, allowing you to revisit them to complete unfinished objectives. Each place you visit has a selection of puzzles for you discover. This is when the stacking comes to play.
Charlie can hop into a doll that's one step large than him. There's over 20 dolls to discover in each location. Each have their own unique ability. This can be from seducing a women or simply uppercutting another doll. Stacking into dolls and using their ability is used to complete the many puzzles you will discover. For example. One puzzle required me to get some dolls out of a room. I had to stack into a doll with the flatulate ability and then use it down an air vent, making the stench unbearable and forcing the dolls out. This is just one of the many humorous moments you will find along the way.
Once you complete a puzzle, you can then complete it again in different ways. This will have you experimenting with different dolls to find the correct solution. Quite frequently I would be toggling around for ages trying to find the right doll for the job, but ended up using the hint system. This will show you a few clues and then simply give you the answer. It can take away some enjoyment when using it, as looking is part the fun. Puzzles are not the only thing the game has to offer. If you wish to complete the game 100% you must find every unique doll in each environment, a family set and find all Hi-Jink's, which are basically pranks that dolls pull off.
Stacking is a unique and adorable game. There's enough to keep you playing for a few hours but might feel a bit unsatisfying for a 1200 MP purchase. If you love puzzles and discovering, Stacking will be well worth your time.
Review by Gareth Smith