Girls Make Games is one of the coolest things happening in the games industry right now. As a summer camp it’s helping to teach young women how to make games and close the gaping gender gap that has been an issue in-game development for decades. Even more than that it’s giving these up and coming developers a means to turn their ideas and newfound knowledge into actual full-blown games, the first being The Hole Story which won the 2014 GMG camp grand prize and was followed up with a successful Kickstarter campaign raising over $31,000.
I had a few different expectations going into The Hole Story (and subsequently wondering how I would review it). Mostly I was expecting something cute but perhaps not necessarily worthy of note beyond being developed through a great initiative and a team composed entirely of young women going by the name of The Negatives. It is after all their first project so I was prepared to be lenient about things I may otherwise criticize in other games.
But to describe The Hole Story as only relevant because of who made it would be patronizing and dismissive of all the passionate work that has gone into making such a lovely game. Sure, it’s a little buggy and simplistic, but that doesn’t matter because The Negatives have filled their game with so much love and charm that I’m not sure how someone could play it and not end up with a huge smile on their face by the end.
The Hole Story might be built with familiar tools, but rather than being a stale first attempt and proof of concept as is often seen from developers still getting their feet wet, The Hole Story is wonderfully enthusiastic about proud of itself. It’s a sort of game that you can’t help but love because it’s clear the people who made it loved doing so. The art is legitimately gorgeous, the characters are a joy to interact with, and the sharp pun filled dialogue is some of the most entertaining writing I’ve seen in any game (seriously, the number of puns here is borderline illegal).
I’d have recommended picking up The Hole Story for the sake of supporting a great program alone, but I’m ecstatic to be able to wholeheartedly endorse it as just a super fun and charming game in its own right. It’s cheerful and refreshingly and is sure to have more cheese related puns than anything else you’ll play this (or any) year. What could possibly be better?!
"Quick Thoughts" is a subset of my normal reviews for smaller games which might not fit into a full review but I still have something to say about.