There’s something about the idea of exploring an oversized world and commanding a troop of cute critters. While Pikmin popularized the concept in 2001, games of this ilk are rare. Looking to fill the void is Tinykin, but does this adorable real-time strategy, puzzler, hit the highs of its influences?
The year is 1991, and Milo, a space traveler, is stranded on Earth. In order to return, he must find seemingly menial objects to craft items that will help him on his quest. Throughout the environment, you’ll encounter a number of alien creatures that have smaller narratives which really helps to flesh out the universe of Tinykin.
Set in a run-of-the-mill house, you will traverse mundane objects to reach your target. Supporting each step of your journey is your ever-growing army of minions. In the demo, I got to experience two types: one which could destroy objects and another that was powerful enough to move objects. Refreshingly, I could just throw the creatures at my desired location and the correct type would be launched. This eradicated any frustration that could have occurred if you had to manually select the type of creature.
Traversal is where Tinykin moves further away from its inspiration. Milo is quite nimble and can jump and glide to reach far-off items. In addition to this, he has his very own soapboard which you can use to slide across surfaces and grind wires. The implementation of this encourages exploration. As areas are open and many secrets lie within, it’s simple to search every nook and cranny.
Small Characters, Big World
In addition to the main quest which comprises several objectives, there are side missions and a ton of collectibles. The inclusion of these means that you’ll happily linger in the world to try to 100% it. The familiar locations are a joy to peruse. A wave of nostalgia hit as items synonymous with the 90s adorns environments. Each section of the level is full of detail and brilliantly builds character. The possibilities of where the game goes with the concept are endless, but if they echo the quality of the demo then we’re in for a treat.
The game continues with its ode to the 90s through its visuals. The protagonist feels like he has been plucked straight out of a Saturday morning cartoon from the era. His big googly eyes, bomber jacket and mischievous smile are endearing. This contrasts with the 3D world in which you inhabit. While you may assume that there would be a disconnect between the two graphical styles, it just works. Vibes of ‘Roger Rabbit’ came over me as the brightly colored aliens interact with realistic-looking objects in the world.
Tinykin is shaping up to be an absolute blast. Although it resembles Olimar’s trek, it evolves the premise to create a different experience. The stunning aesthetics, slick gameplay and multilayered world have got me excited for when it releases on August 30th, 2022.
*** A Preview key provided by the publisher ***