REVIEW : Tinykin (PC)
The story of a tiny astronaut who finds his bones on Earth and has to venture into it with the help of even smaller creatures is not exactly new in the world of video games: when listening to that premise our head goes directly to thinking about the Pikmin saga, although many other projects have worked with that idea of small protagonists in gigantic scenarios inspired by our everyday spaces. Tinykin is precisely about that, a tiny astronaut who lands on our planet looking for the origins of his civilisation, which is the same as the human one but of a much smaller size.
Despite the obvious similarities, Tinykin does not seem to be afraid to be compared to Pikmin; its developers, the French studio Splashteam (creators of Splasher) have been able to rely on that popular idea to later find their fun tone. In this adventure, in addition, we play in three dimensions combined with the two-dimensionality of the characters that we find in their multiple scenarios. Edited by TinyBuild, and available for release on Xbox Game Pass, this title has become a surprise that is easy to enter because of the nice graphics but that will end up captivating us with its exciting story and magnificent level design
Travelling to the tiny world
In Tinykin we put ourselves in the shoes of Milo, a small being who lands on Earth realising that everything here is immense for people of his size. He is alone, with the ship and the suit broken, although he quickly finds help in the insects that inhabit the house in which he has fallen by chance. There they explain to him that to return to his planet he must recover the parts that will allow him to create a new space vehicle. All those pieces are small objects of our day-to-day (gaves, funnels) that will have to be recovered in each of the various levels into which the game is divided.
Although it does not stand out for having a high number of levels, each of them is surprisingly large and is full of nooks and crannies in which we will find various hidden objects and collectables. The main mission is usually well visible at the beginning of each scenario, but if we are curious it will not take long to deviate from that path to thoroughly explore every corner; the levels are designed for that, to let us play without any restrictions, and the character’s movements (who can jump, glide and slide in a bar of soap as a skateboard) encourage us to play with
The tinykin, those little creatures with powers
Of course, tinykins, little creatures that give the game its name, are a fundamental part of both the movement on stage and the resolution of puzzles and platforms that we will find along the way. As it happens in Pikmin, each of these beings has its ability: carrying weight, exploding, and forming columns through which to climb or conduct electricity. We are unlocking new types in each new level, which updates the way we play every so often. In that sense, Tinykin is a truly stimulating experience because it does not stop offering us new ways to face the exploration of its tiny world.
Of course, in each level, we will have to look for the tinykin because they do not follow us from one scenario to another, but the account is reset every time we change zones. This helps to control the progress of the game and encourages us to find all these little allies before leaving the level: there are secondary activities that we can only complete when we have a certain number of Tinykin of a specific type, as well as some secrets for which we will have to squeeze our tail (without much demand, everything has to be said). Finding all these kinds of hidden things becomes almost the best part of the game, and multiplies in passing the about 6 hours that a linear game can last by shot done.
Polished gameplay and brilliant audiovisual direction
If scrutinising the scenarios is the best part of Tinykin, it is precisely because its gameplay is defined brilliantly. The controls with remote control are fantastic, offering an unexpected fluidity both in the interaction with your world (to use the tinykin we just have to aim and throw, no selection wheels) and in the movement scheme itself: specifically, sliding with the soap bar, taking advantage of rails and jumping on the stage, is especially rewarding. Perhaps a little more precision is missing in the platform, but nothing serious considering that it is not too demanding in that aspect.
Another of the points that have most captivated us in this game is the rhythm it gives to his story, a story that also does not end up being completely well established: it is a common thread that seems more a narrative excuse for the gameplay than a story as such, something that is not bad per se but that does clashes when checking all the protagonism it has within the Interestingly, the game world has seemed as nice to us as its mechanics, and talking to the inhabitants of the cities while we discover how they have consolidated a society with our everyday objects (pots, books, toilet paper rolls) makes the game one of those works that it is easy to love.
Finally, we cannot end without praising the careful audiovisual section of Tinykin. Its artistic direction is polished down to the smallest detail, highlighting how well the mixture works between the depth of its exuberant 3D worlds with the simplicity of the 2D designs of the characters; this last style is also very well used in brief kinematics that appears from time to time, which could well belong to an animated series. Also, its sound design is especially good, both in the music itself and in the nice sound effects that do not stop playing throughout the adventure. In addition, there is a great work in immersion through the audio, with the music playing hollow when we get under a carpet, for example, or the notes of the main theme changing to something more tenuous when we enter a church.
Conclusions? Even knowing the project in advance and eager to play it, Tinykin has managed to exceed our most optimistic expectations by offering a hilarious adventure that knows how to update the formula of classic platforms in three dimensions. The most attractive thing, that made us notice it, was undoubtedly its graphic section that combines 3D and 2D; but that has not even ended up being the best part of the game, since it is also excellent in the design of levels and scenarios, as well as in how good the gameplay feels and the number of objectives it hides in each of its maps. We can only blame him for a certain lack of rhythm in a not-too-successful story, something that he supplements with a nice script that will make us take affection for his universe and characters.