The demo for Tinykin took me by surprise. I usually go into games blind so my perception of the experience is not influenced by outside factors. So I really don’t know what to expect when I play a game. Tinykin definitely took me by surprise and left a memorable experience.
To keep things short, Tinykin is basically like Pikmin. You’re an insect sized person in a normal sized world and you interact with the world around you via tiny, spherical minions. The demo had available pink and red minions. Pink minions can push objects aside or carry heavy objects. Red minions can explode and are used to clear obstacles.
Now that we briefly covered the mechanics, I’ll move on to my first impressions of the game. The first thing that struck me was the art style of the game. It looks fantastic! The characters are cell shaded and look like something straight out of a Saturday morning cartoon. The cartoonish characters are juxtaposed on a more realistic looking environment. It looks great and it works well because you can point out things from the environment pretty quickly.
The levels are pretty expansive as well. Beside the main objective of collecting the artifact for each level, there are so many characters to talk to, side quests to complete, and collectables to find. The level is very open and non linear so you can explore any area you want in almost any order. And within each area, there are tiny nooks and crannies containing collectables or side characters.
It took me around two hours to completely explore the level available in the demo. There was always something to do so there was never a lull in the fun of the game play. You’re always collecting something, talking to someone, or trying to find a way to clear a path for your minions to do their thing.
Here is an example of a side quest that rewards you with a little bit of extra bubble power (which lets you stay suspended in air for a limited amount of time). One insect is talking to another about a terrible monster they encountered. It’s just a teddy bear. The other does not believe the first, so the first insect begs you to get photographic evidence. To do this, you need enough red minions to blow up some obstacles blocking a Polaroid camera, and then have enough pink minions to carry the Polaroid to the teddy bear. Along the way, you need to close a cabinet door, and open the cabinet that contains the bear itself.
Another thing that stuck out to me was the intuitive and simple design of the game. You never need to switch between minions, the game will automatically do that for you based on the context of the action. When your minions are carrying objects, the game will automatically select the correct object when they are needed. This reduces unnecessary interactions with a menu and keeps the flow of the game play very smooth.
Overall, Tinykin is shaping up to be a great game. The art style is fantastic, along with the audio design and backing track. The game play mechanics are smartly and well designed. The levels are massive and contain so much to do. It’s a very nice, condensed package of fun.