Tinykin Review (PS5) – Honey, I Shrunk the Cryptids
Tinykin is a 3D puzzle/platformer that’s crash landing on all platforms 30th of August. The Finger Guns review:
I think it’s fair to say that at first glance Tinykin wears their influence proudly. If you’ve seen any of the trailers during the lead up to the release you may have said to yourself, “Hey this looks like Pikmin!”. Well I can confirm you’re only partially right. Tinykin, Pikmin roll off the tongue like they could be long lost twins, though their DNA doesn’t match. Splashteam have managed to find their own formula and the love shown for the genre in Tinykin is palpable.
In broad strokes this is a 3D Puzzle/Platformer but the intuitive design across the levels make for an extremely satisfying collectathon on top of that. Games like this can get bogged down with the sheer number of stuff to find; but Tinykin has such a motivating ebb and flow and a great sense for exploration, it’ll leave you wanting to find more.
Close Encounters of the Tiny Kind
You play as Milo, an intergalactic astronaut who’s looking for Earth. Upon arrival to his destination things aren’t as they seem. Milo’s found himself in a house that looks like it never made it out of the 90’s. On top of that, you’re as small as the insects that now inhabit the land.
You’re not alone with the insects, as Tinykin also live amongst them. Mysterious little fellas, these have unique abilities determined by their colour and have taken a liking to Milo. All this has culminated in kingdoms created using all of the household items they could find. Innocuous objects from our day to day lives are met with trepidation for the new locals, an aspect that I thought spoke on multiple levels towards its overall world building. Objects, folktales and hierarchy build so much story that it feels like a believable world you’ve accidentally stumbled upon. Tinykin doesn’t take you through story beats for the most part. A lot of it is found from your own exploration and in environmental story telling. This hands-off approach in its story telling favours those who explore and enriches the gameplay leading to a satisfying narrative that I feel like I had a part in.
Far Out, Man!
The game sees you using a variety of traversal mechanics. Whether it be your Soapboard to skate around on, or Bubbles to glide in – you’ll have a blast exploring all the levels. Playing feels snappy and responsive, like all good platformers. The controls coupled with a lot of room for error in how you get around alleviates any frustration you might have had otherwise. If you fall and pop out of existence you spawn exactly where you left off in seconds. This builds an almost chilled-out enjoyment of it all.
The house is broken up into different levels (rooms) that have their own distinct personality. All of them are designed with their function in mind and relate to the quests in hand. These quests usually pertain to the residents of that level, and within them are story threads that adds to the scale of this miniature world. From the personalities to the pop culture references, it was a fun time helping out the insects with whatever they needed.
The bulk of the quests are a case of fetching and returning. It’s been done to death, but when it’s coupled with the fun traversal, you can never really get bored. Reoccurring NPCS add to the collectathon element of the gameplay. The majority of your exploration will see you picking up pollen to help out Sikaru or working for the Royal Snail in retrieving those hard to find envelopes. This part of the game had me at my most lizard brain, it was something I could relax to and leisurely find at my pace. The real star of the gameplay however, are the Tinykins.
To Infinity and Beyond
These cheeky fellas all have unique abilities that’ll either aid in your traversal or help with quests. The game spoon feeds you new types of Tinykin every level, so you’re never overwhelmed or confused as to which one does what. Some of them have more fulfilling abilities than others. Namely the red exploding Tinykin or the green climbing ones. All are varied enough to switch up some of the puzzle elements as you progress, keeping it interesting.
How it plays is top notch, this is paired with the incredible level design. Every mini-sandbox has an opening sweep of the whole level. Only being the size of an ant, this can seem daunting. Any fear is quickly quelled as without guidance, you’ll be able to intuit the order you should be tackling the levels because of some smart design. In these types of games, I usually double, triple check areas before moving on and to the games credit you can finish the level as you enter them. They’re challenging enough to get you thinking about where that last pollen could be, but I never felt frustrated to the point of giving up.
The breadcrumb trails that lead into the nooks and crannies are expertly crafted. I found myself being led from one place to another without really thinking about it. Knowing I was slowly making progress in all the collectibles was an addictive loop I found hard to pull myself away from.
Take Me To Your Leader
Let’s talk about the art style – The 2D characters in a 3D world initially felt jarring, however the quality of both left me charmed by the end. I do think there’s possible budgeting that influenced the decision to go this route, but it overall plays into the unique qualities that the game presents.
Music varies from room to room with subtle hints of an overarching sound that ties them all together. The changes in sound fit the moods that the levels set but it does fall into the background when you’re deep into exploring. From a grand orchestra to a mixture of electronic music, it definitely feels like it’s going for a Pixar film via the audio, though not as memorable.
A Bug’s Life
A game of this scale with a small team behind it leaves room for some flaws. For the most part I’ve not found any performance issues but at the time of this review I have now booted up the game and fallen under the level twice, with no remedy. The first time was a couple hours in, but this most recent one I clocked over 9 hours and with just a couple of trophies left to get. The only fix I could find was restarting the game, and I’m not about to do that with the time I’ve put in. This will hopefully be remedied before or shortly after release.
Out of Space
Overall, I had a lot of fun with Tinykin. The world drew me in with its wonderful and nostalgic presence, and the mystery in the story kept me going. The game plays excellently – although it doesn’t change up the formula during my 10+ hours of playing – the loop is satisfying and the length doesn’t over stay its welcome.
Tinykin’s 3D Puzzle/Platforming and Collectathon experience is one really worth having in your collection. The cutesy and nostalgic presentation offers unique charm in a space that has felt saturated. It’s clearly a game that has been made with love throughout. A few bugs notwithstanding, this is one that should be on your radar.
Tinykin is available 30th August on PlayStation 5 (review platform), PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC
Publisher: tinyBuild Games
Disclaimer: In order to complete this review, we were provided with a promotional code from the publisher. For our full review policy, please go here.
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