Review: The Stanley Parable

The Stanley Parable

Follow the line Stanley

Oh how easy it is to get cynical about games. For those of you that listen to our Flash Point podcast, you’ll know we don’t suffer for lack of cynicism. Which is why I love finding a game that smacks all of that cynicism fair in the face – The Stanley Parable is definitely one of those games.

The game was originally released in 2011, had a substantive remake as a standalone Windows game and last month had a further enhancement via the Steam Greenlight scheme, which is the version I’ve just played.

I’m not going to even begin to try and describe what The Stanley Parable is about, beyond saying that you are Stanley, and you have a narrator along with you for the ride. The narrator (Kevan Brighting) really does make the game in so many ways and I can’t remember the last time I’ve had so many laughs in a game. It’s part interactive fiction, part satire and part puzzle game (although don’t start thinking too deeply about puzzles from what I’ve seen after four hours of play). The writing is simply stupendous, hence the regular laughs. Aside from that, it’s the ‘What the..” moments that really deliver the value in the game.

I’m really hard pushed to find a lot to criticise – the gameplay is different enough that I haven’t experienced any significant frustrations to date. I did consider keeping notes at one stage as a mud map to determine the story paths I’d taken, but given some of the paths change from time to time, I gave up on that idea. I’d love the ability to save a game too, although I can see that the nature of this game makes it a partly redundant idea.

For US$15 this game is more than worth the money and given its reported success to date, I’m hanging out for what comes next from this creative team.

Tips / recommendations for The Stanley Parable

  • Download the demo, no matter how sold you are on the game
  • Explore but don’t expect massive amounts of feedback
  • Stand still in locations for 30 seconds or more
  • Stand in the Broom Closet for at least 3-5 minutes: you won’t regret it
  • If you haven’t got to the story branch with the Adventure Line, you haven’t been trying hard enough
  • If you have kids older than 8 or so, get them involved as I found this led me down routes I may have otherwise missed
  • Don’t give up until you’ve found the ‘game credits’ area
  • See point 1: seriously, the demo is brilliant on its own

Here’s where you go to find out more – and thanks to the Good Game TV team for reviewing this game themselves. This is a game I’ll be coming back to for a while, purely for the fun it provides.

10/10 in its genre for me – just let me know what genre you’d put it in ok?

To finish up, here’s a gallery with a handful of screenshots I’ve taken so far, with an emphasis on the meeting room as I loved the scribblings in there. Don’t view them if you want to go into the game 100% fresh.