Double Fine has captivated fans with a strange and inviting charm for nearly two decades. Spearheaded by former LucasArts designer Tim Schafer, it’s impossible not to notice how the studio crafts a unique personality for each one of its projects. With the its latest title, Rad, set to debut for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC on August 20, let’s take a look at the best Double Fine games so far.
Best Double Fine Games | Broken Age
Broken Age plays like an interactive storybook and allows fans to witness two completely different narratives gradually intersect in satisfying ways. As Vella tries to avoid being sacrificed to a giant monster and Shay struggles for independence aboard a lonely spaceship, players may find themselves relating to each character’s fight for freedom.
Well-written dialogue, excellent voice acting, and challenging puzzles help keep audiences invested throughout the adventure. Broken Age may be remembered most today for its impact on crowdfunding, but its meticulously planned campaign is worth experiencing by anyone who enjoys story-driven adventure games.
Best Double Fine Games | Stacking
As the image above indicates, Stacking is a title all about Russian matryoshka dolls. As a small doll named Charlie Blackmore, players are tasked with becoming larger dolls in order to solve a series of increasingly difficult puzzles and rescue Charlie’s siblings from a child labor camp. Stacking‘s best feature is how it allows fans to complete puzzles in a variety of different ways. It may not be a long title, but its accessibility can entice people who don’t normally play games to give it a try.
Though it is set during an economic depression and includes such themes as child labor, Stacking never takes itself too seriously and always knows when to appropriately insert a joke. This Double Fine game is creative in every sense of the word and is worth a curious playthrough by whomever may have missed it last console generation.
Best Double Fine Games | Brutal Legend
Speaking of creative, Brutal Legend thrusts fans in a fantasy world completely inspired by heavy metal. Jack Black voices Eddie Riggs, a roadie who accidentally opens up a portal when things go awry at a pop punk show. In this new domain, the protagonist must ally himself with such rock legends as Ozzy Osbourne and Rob Halford in order to dispel an army of bondage-wearing weirdos.
While Brutal Legend is obviously best enjoyed by metalheads, people with a vague knowledge of the genre can appreciate how Double Fine fleshed out the game’s open world with environments clearly inspired by some of metal’s best album artwork. It’s thrilling to cruise by a cemetery that pays homage to Cradle of Filth’s Dusk and Her Embrace or see Slayer’s Reign in Blood manifest before one’s very eyes. Brutal Legend is a work of pure passion and it shows in nearly every detail.
Best Double Fine Games | Costume Quest
Costume Quest may not be very metal, but it certainly is cute. As a treat-or-treating kid, players must track down the whereabouts of their twin sibling after he or she goes missing on Halloween night. Seeing as how the title is a RPG, candy, costume parts, and more party members must be collected and recruited in order to progress in the story.
As fun as it may be to nab some delicious goodies, the game’s most clever inclusion is how it allows team members to transform into the costumes they’re wearing during battle. For example. kids dressed up as knights become soldiers while those dressed as robots become giant mecha. Costume Quest may be simple, but it’s hard to ignore how adorable it is.
Best Double Fine Games | Headlander
Headlander has players literally use their craniums in order to solve a string of cerebral puzzles and mind-numbing bullet hell sequences. A Metroidvania at heart, fans are able to fly around as a head and plant themselves onto robots in order to take advantage of their melee and ranged abilities.
One section may require people to place themselves atop the torso of a security droid to gain clearance while another may have them shoot targets from afar in order to clear the path ahead. Headlander keeps players on their toes despite not having any appendages of its own. Fans of Space Ghost Coast to Coast or Aqua Teen Hunger Force may find this game’s humor right up their alley, too.
Best Double Fine Games | Psychonauts
Double Fine’s first game, Psychonauts, is still its best one. It stars Raz, a young circus performer who decides to leave his career under the trapeze behind when he discovers he has psychic abilities. As a Psycadet, or Psychonaut trainee, he must journey into the minds of various allies in order to make them aware of an evil plot to steal their brains.
Though Raz can jump, slide, and grind like most other platforming mascots, his abilities to set anything on fire, turn invisible, levitate, and lift and throw objects set him apart from all the rest. Psychonauts is filled with hilarious lines but doesn’t sacrifice drama or character development for the sake of delivering a witty joke. It’s a game that constantly invites its fans to fall in love with its believable cast and topsy-turvy world. Thankfully, we’ll finally be able to enjoy the sequel next year.
It remains to be seen whether or not Rad and Psychonauts 2 will maintain the developer’s esteemed pedigree and early reports are quite promising, if a tad dated. It won’t be long before fans are able to wack around mutants with baseball bats or glide their way through a mad dentist’s subconscious as Raz. Though we can’t jump to any conclusions yet, there’s a good chance that Tim and his team still have a lot of magic left in them.