Easter Eggs:The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom

By Marc Caccamise, 2 years ago
Welcome to Easter Eggs, where the TA Team shines the spotlight on games that many gamers might have missed, perhaps hidden away behind the millionth copy of Call of Duty or FIFA. Much like a gamer who finds an Easter Egg hidden away in a game and proceeds to trumpet it from the highest hills and forums, the TA Team is going to be featuring these Easter Egg games on the front page for all to see.
With the amount of games that are released these days, it’s no wonder why everyone has a pretty sizable backlog of their own. It’s that predominant factor which inevitably causes many games to go by the wayside unnoticed. However, even after you take into account all of the AAA games, as well as the other retail releases, there is still a vast amount of arcade titles that can largely be missed. Among these arcade games are a large amount of puzzle games, some of which are brilliant brain-teasers. One such example is The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom, the first arcade game to be featured here in Easter Eggs.

The Basics

The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom is a puzzle-platformer that was developed by The Odd Gentlemen and released in February 2010 on the Xbox LIVE Arcade. The player assumes the anti-hero protagonist role of P.B. Winterbottom, a squat old-timey looking man, on his quest to consume every last pie he can find, no matter what the cost. It’s not quite that simple however, as Winterbottom will often have to use special abilities such as making clones of himself in order to solve various obstacles that would be impossible to one man alone. By holding the right trigger button, the player is able to record P.B.’s actions, which his clone will then complete over and over on a loop. The challenge then becomes how to properly utilize both the cloned Winterbottoms in congruence with the real, player-controlled Winterbottom. The story, largely presented by still screens with a rhyming dialogue, for the most part takes a backseat to the puzzles which by far are the star of the show.

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The Hook

What makes the puzzles of P.B. Winterbottom special are the radical transitions each one makes to the next, leaving the player seldom experiencing the same type of challenge in consistent puzzles. For instance, in one puzzle it may be the simple task of just running around with Winterbottom and collecting the easy-to-reach pies. But in the next you may be faced with pies that are unreachable alone, and therefore you’ll need to take actions with your recorded clones to help you get them all. Whether you just leave them stationary to stack and jump on to reach high ledges, or actively move them in a predetermined path and fashion, you have to think about the actions of multiple characters in order to attain your one goal.

As you progress through the different movie levels, the same game mechanics will remain in place but new conditions will be placed on you. In some cases, you may have a short time limit in which to pick up the pies, or have to pick them up in a certain order. In further instances, only clones can pick up pies instead of both of you. While in even further puzzles you can only record clone actions in a predetermined location for a certain amount of time, therefore forcing you to rethink your game plan. It is this constant changing of the preconditions of the puzzle that keeps them enticing throughout the game.

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For those who are masters at puzzles, the first three levels or so may seem to go by quickly, but once you proceed into the later parts of the game, when all of these elements begin to intertwine, it presents a very real challenge. Some of the puzzles you may find yourself solving within a few minutes, while other brain-stumpers can leave you staring at the same one for a lengthy half-an-hour. While these puzzles in particular can leave you absolutely exhausted, once the solution finally snaps into your head and you successfully pull if off, you'll feel like a regular ol' Einstein. Additionally, there are 25 bonus challenge puzzles that you unlock as you progress through the story. These bonus puzzles are often larger in scope and present a much larger challenge than before. The player is presented with a time limit and a clone limit in which to gather all the pies in order to fully complete the level. Completing these levels to their fullest is an integral part in obtaining five of the game's achievements.

The mechanics of P.B. Winterbottom would work superbly no matter what artistic style the developers chose to present the game. That being said, the direction in which they ultimately decided, and how closely they stuck to it, is what really brings the entire game together in a unique and memorable fashion. The entire game is presented in black and white, mimicking that of an old time silent film. So much so that you can even spot those authentic black lines and blotches, just as if it were a genuine movie reel. The music perfectly matches this artistic style, with a bizarre and almost ominous tone that really pulls the entire look and feel of the game together. It's almost catchy in a way, and you might find yourself humming it after several hours of playing the game. Though if you find yourself humming it in excessive amounts, you may want to consult your doctor about it.

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The Achievements

The majority of the achievements in the game can be obtained by simply playing through the levels. Achievements such as Hot Pie Bottom, which is to steal 10 pies, and Evil Bottom, which is to burn, smash, or erase 50 clones, you will almost certainly pick up perhaps before you even complete the first movie level. Five achievements are then associated with completing each of the movie levels, leaving the last five achievements dealing with completion of the time and clone challenges in the bonus levels. The game is by no means a cakewalk at an overall TA ratio of 1.8, but the use of walkthroughs can help to expedite the process if you so wish.

The Stats
Only 7,815 tracked gamers on the site have played a game, while 1,430 (18.30%) have completed it. These numbers alone speak volumes of simply how many people have most likely have passed this game up.

Our community has rated the game 3.8 based on 1,095 votes, and it has a 83 rating on Metacritic.

The Price

Being that this is an arcade game, the purchasing options are obviously not that flexible. Though on a positive note, the game costs only $9.99 on Xbox LIVE. It's also good to note that the game has been on sale twice in the past year, so if the price doesn't seem good to you, you can always keep an eye out for another 2K sale.

The Verdict

The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom may not be the longest game out there, clocking in at around ten hours to complete everything, although it will obviously vary for each individual person. However this game is a fantastic and at times mind-numbing, puzzle-platformer that will give you a good challenge for your buck. There are not many games that mimic the overall atmosphere of the art style and music provided here, and while the story may be nothing more than just written narrative, its quirky sense of humor is a pleasant break in between the puzzles. I would absolutely recommend this game to any puzzle-lover looking for a clever challenge, or to anyone at all intrigued by the idea of creating clones for the simple task of collecting pies.

If there's a game you'd like to see featured in Easter Eggs, be sure to let us know in the comments!
Marc Caccamise
Written by Marc Caccamise
Writer of news, features, and reviews for TrueAchievements since June 2013. Discovered the incredible world of video games at a young age with Desert Strike: Return to the Gulf, and haven't looked back since. Outside of gaming, I'm usually found reading up on various history topics or rooting for the lowly Buffalo Bills and Sabres.