You know when you are playing a city builder, sometimes it feels like you are just playing with toys? Place some houses here, nice trees here, a cute little shop there. Well, Tinytopia takes that idea to its logical conclusion—a city builder/simulation where you literally build with toys!
Just from that description, I wouldn’t blame anyone for anticipating that this game probably has a fun art style, kind of like Planet Coaster. But don’t be mistaken! Tinytopia is at heart a physics-based game, which means, just as with real toys, you can stack and build your own beautiful, haphazard structures. This also means if you don’t stack things correctly, or remove the wrong block, your entire city could come spectacularly crashing down!
Here Comes Godzilla!
So you build a beautiful city and run out of room to play, what to do now? I mean, there is that ferocious Godzilla action figure you have sitting in the corner… it could be cool to see it walk through some apartments. Well, heck, let’s do it! Make a new save and summon some monsters.
Tinytopia really embraces this awesome childish mindset. Destruction of your city can feel even more satisfying than building it, and since you’ve stacked blocks on blocks on blocks to fit everything into a small square, the devastation is just like seeing an awesome domino structure toppling down. I’m sure people are already making Rube Goldberg machines with these mechanics.
As satisfying as destruction can be, the building aspect can be quite fun as well. You can combine structures into specific formations to create new blueprints which will have greater effects than the sum of their parts. If you are going for a more free-form approach, there are tools like scaffolding to help you add some much-needed support to your rickety tower. At the end of the day, you will probably end up doing both, but seriously, there is something awesome in trying to stack your apartments as tall as possible without the construction turning into rubble.
Not Enough Simulation?
Tinytopia has all the basics of a city builder. You need to construct places for people to live in, and they need electricity, jobs, amenities, hospitals, and police. Just as the game is this cute project of playing with toys, the simulation puzzles are easy to solve—maybe too easy. All you need to do is plop down the required buildings around homes, and the game is finished. Well, of course, you can build it up just to unleash some monsters onto the city, but that may get stale after a little while. I hope the game will continue to develop the city management mechanics, even if it’s just a difficulty setting, just to keep it a little more exciting over the long haul.
Tinytopia is still in beta, so don’t take any of my concerns as real problems that will be in the final product. Many of the sim aspects do feel like placeholders right now, especially when it comes to the economy of the game. If you’re looking for a complex simulation, this game might not be heading in that direction, but even at this stage, Tinytopia is an engagingly fresh take on the city builder genre.
Thank you for keeping it locked on COGconnected.