The Misadventures of P. B. Winterbottom

Waddaya know, it’s 2010! It’s the *reads from Wikipedia* international year of biodiversity (wat), Bin Laden’s still alive, kinda, possibly, some say, maybe not, but hey, poor Haiti and all that… Yup, 2010 indeed. Yes sir, the big twenty-ten, last time I’ll ever see those impossibly ugly double-0 glasses on puking beauties for ten years! I’ll drink to th- oh fine.

Yes, I’m late by more than two years, but you know what, it’s your fault for not telling me this existed. Whoever you are, you should have taken the earliest flight to my windowsill and yell “Hey! Winterbottom’s coming!”

Well, phrased like that, I’d probably mistake you for a drunken hobo, but the point I’m trying to make is that, once again, little jewels like this pass right by me, undetected by my sensitive behemoth of a nose.

Pie Bugger Winterbottom is a puzzle platformer by The Odd Gentlemen about a pie thief who cares for nothing but to sink his teeth and dip his nose into every such pastry he can find. He leads a carefree life until this freaky pie-hoe hybrid sends him back in time to correct his wrongdoings… by grabbing more pies. Yeah, I didn’t get it either, but the damn thing’s fun as hell. The little rhymes that make up the story between the puzzles are brilliantly simple, and even if some levels were too much for my tired noggin that I had to succumb to the walkthrough demons, it was all worth it to have the hints teach me the word “turdmuffin.”

I’m sorry, untouchable what?

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The first thing I was reminded of was Braid, but this managed to tread its own path quite well. Shorty McTopHat over there somehow acquires the ability to clone himself into looped actions, and you’re supposed to use this game mechanic in your favour. You can use them as platforms, pie fetchers, and even smack them across the place. At first I thought it would repeat the same formula over and over, but then I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that every set of areas relies on a different addition to/variation of the mechanic, which feels refreshing every time without having to learn something absolutely new. I value this, because it keeps the pace while stimulating the mind. I have nothing against complexity, but sometimes sticking to a formula while strategically enhancing its use is the best way to keep a game interesting.

There was a strangeness at first, because Piestuffer O’Shuttlenose III’s graphic style doesn’t seem to match the rest of the art, which, incidentally, reminds me of what would have happened if Charlie Chaplin and Tim Burton had coexisted and worked on something together. This feeling of oddity, oddly enough, disappeared once I started getting my head around the puzzles, of which the learning curve is shaped like a rollercoaster.

Tower of Pie-za. Har Har.

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Hats off every clone to David Stanton, for making a beautiful soundtrack and a main theme that got me seriously addicted. That’s it, really, I can’t say anything but “let’s listen again. And again. And again. And again. And again.”

In short, if you haven’t played Poor Bastard Winterbottom yet, do give it a try, if not, here’s your formal excuse:

If only I had known,

If I had been told,

This post would be news

Instead of just old.

8/10

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