Why is it always that the people behind new technology are the ones conducting the experiments on themselves? That’s the question I asked myself when I first played Tinykin’s demo. In the case of Milo and all the others, we won’t have much of a plot if they didn’t.
Tinykin is an upcoming puzzle platform in the same vein as Pikmin. Developed by Splashteam, the game tells the story of Milo and the aftermath of his experiment. He finds himself shrunk down inside a house sometime in the 90s. Thankfully, the bug inhabitants of the world are kind enough to offer their support. With the help of Tinykin, Milo must reassemble the parts of a machine scattered throughout the house. Supposedly, putting it together is the key to getting him back home.
The demo of the game covers the first level past the tutorial stage. We get to meet the beetles and their unique culture. All the while, taking on tasks that help everyone out.
For starters, Milo doesn’t do much. Maybe it’s got something to do with the fact that he’s a 2D sprite in a 3D world. Or maybe it’s because his fancy science belt is only capable of producing bubbles that allow him to float for a set amount of time. It’s hard to say. After completing the tutorial level, Milo is rewarded with a bar of soap… which he uses to get around like a snowboard.
Milo’s other power allows him to command Tinykin. The tiny blob-like creatures are more than happy to help Milo in whatever task, provided that Milo has a sufficient amount of them.
The way it works is that Milo moves around the level, gathering Tinykin of various different colors. The demo has the pink and red variants available. The player throws the Tinykin at the object that needs to move. If enough are thrown, they move to their designated area without much aid. The red ones, on the other hand, explode on impact after being thrown. They are used to open parts of the map and to solve puzzles.
There is a strange kind of compulsion that takes hold whenever I see a line of collectibles. Since there is no actual combat in the demo, the most I was doing was exploring and doing tasks for the bugs who are asking for help.
In any other game, I suppose the novelty dies down quickly but the game encourages you to look for shortcuts that open the map further and furthermore. I never found myself getting bored exploring the map when I have so much to see and to do. By the end of the level, I had pretty much done every task possible.
I could have just done the main quest and be done with it, but that wouldn’t be taking full advantage of the demo we have now.
Tinykin takes a lot of 2D sprites and dots them around a 3D environment. The environments too have a low poly cartoony look that makes it appear as though the one enhances the other when you look at it. Honestly, despite the fact that the characters are missing one dimension, they don’t look out of place in this world.
The game’s music is light-hearted and has a floaty tune to it. It’s very charming and doesn’t wear its welcome out despite only playing on repeat.
After completing the task set before me by the leader of the beetles, he gives the piece of the machine that we are looking for. The machine back at ‘base’ requires multiple parts to be completed. So, what I did here, expect to keep on doing for another 5 or so levels. I hope the developers have planned well in advance when it comes to diversifying the approach to each part. I would hate to keep doing the same thing, no amount of charming locales can change that.
The base also has a place to spend currency and a museum to hand over trinkets to. I’d say there is a fair bit of side activities to do in this game. I, however, do not understand how leveling the bubble works. There are ways to extend its duration but it’s a mystery to me as to how it is actually done. Might have something to do with the bars that I’ve collected. Not sure. Maybe it’ll be made clear when the game comes out.
Tinykin is one of those games I didn’t think I’d like so much. I was first drawn in by the art style and the Pikmin-like mechanics. But it was the exploration and how the level was laid out that convinced me that this is the kind of game that’s worth keeping an eye on.
Tinykin releases sometime this Summer. Check out the game’s Steam page for more information about the game.