The Stanley Parable Review

If you play the free demo you’ll know whether or not you like this game, so this review is pointless and futile, which is entirely appropriate as the game itself revolves around pointlessness and futility.

You know how some games have hidden “easter eggs” that you can find by doing unexpected things? Well this is what you do throughout the game. You have to constantly restart from the beginning (Stanley’s office), take different routes around the building, push different buttons and interact with different items. By doing this you eventually reach various different “endings” to the game. When you think you’ve found them all you can check one of the Steam Guides to see if you’ve missed any. There are one or two that you’re extremely unlikely to find on your own. There are also several hidden secrets that you may or may not discover on your travels.

Good games have nice graphics, good gameplay, cool music… but how many would you describe as having great narration? That’s what this game is all about: listening to a very English narrator, dripping with sarcasm and deadpan wit, giving a running commentary on Stanley’s (your) actions – or lack of. Like listening to Howard Stern, you’ll keep playing just to find out what he’s going to say next. Who knew that standing in a broom closet doing nothing could be so entertaining? The theme/philosophy of the humour is to gently poke fun at the way gamers chase objectives, thinking they have choices, but really it’s all futile. Have a look at the ridiculous achievements and you’ll see what I mean.

The Stanley Parable

The Stanley Parable is like a fine wine

Minor Gripes

The graphics details are set to low resolution by default within an obscure advanced options menu. I only discovered this after I’d more or less completed the game. Dammit. They’re pretty good anyway but I would have liked to play the whole game in high def. Come to think of it, maybe this was part of the game…

Sometimes the game restarts before you’ve had time to read all the interesting stuff on the whiteboard or whatnot.

Major Gripe

This game is too short, there’s barely 3 hours of unique gameplay. The nature of the game means you’ll replay parts of it multiple times, but like a good joke it inevitably wears thin.

Highlights

The Broom Closet and the ‘430’ achievement. Hilarious! There is a beautiful acoustic guitar song hidden deep.

Conclusion

Like a fine wine, this is a game to be sipped and savoured because as exquisite as it is, there’s not enough of it. Buy it on sale and you’ll get good value for your money.

Good

  • Weird, bonkers gameplay
  • Best narrator ever
  • Dry British humour

Bad

  • Too short, I want more
8.3

Great

Jim Deadlock - 7.5
Warwick Janetzki - 9