|System: X360 (XBLA)||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: The Odd Gentlemen||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: 2K Play||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Feb. 17, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Like a lot of fairytales that mean more than they appear on the surface, I guess Winterbottom's greed and time-traveling antics represent mankind's need to consume more and more resources, and our need to control history because, let's face it, we don't know where we came from and we don't know where we're going. We are trapped in a puzzle just like Winterbottom.
Fortunately for Winterbottom, he seems to be completely amoral and feels no guilt whatsoever when it comes to making clones of himself, and then abusing those clones in order to proceed. And that means the player doesn't have to, either. Half the fun of solving each puzzle is creating a clone to help you along, and then knocking the clone senseless in order to finish.
Anyone who knows the solution to each puzzle could blast through Winterbottom very quickly, so unless you become fanatical about staying on the leaderboards in the timed bonus stages, Winterbottom has limited replay value. This is no great loss, as the initial playthrough will sorely test the limits of anyone's mental endurance for at least three or four hours. But do yourself a favor and don't try to finish Winterbottom in one or two sessions (unless you're trading off with friends during an all-nighter). I ended up feeling like I was being tested in some kind of harsh death match arena for intellectuals, like Thunderdome meets chess, until I was slowly worn down and hollowed out. The latter stages in each world are not exactly relaxing.
Which isn't to say that Winterbottom is not a fun game. It is fun, and challenging, but don't expect an artsy, black and white version of Super Mario Bros. It's not a fun-filled romp through a fantastic world - it's a test to divide the clever from the slow. Have fun, but all the same, buyer beware!
Kyle B. Stiff
CCC Freelance Writer