Reviewed on Xbox One>Also on PlayStation 4, Switch, PC>Publisher tinyBuild>Developer Splashteam>ReleaseAugust 30, 2022Rating Everyone 10+>
Tinykin cleverly combines puzzle-solving and platforming with the minion management of Nintendo’s Pikmin series. The player controls a flea-sized astronaut, who travels from Earth to Earth in search of the true origins of humanity. The astronaut's journey takes him into an ordinary home, inhabited by sentient insects that worship a mysterious god. The astronaut must build a rocket using ordinary household items and Tinykin, a small, cute alien. Tinykin's world and premise enticed me as a "little person in big world" experience. The gameplay was satisfying until the end.
Although it is a simplistic way to describe Tinykin, the best description would be "Pikmin's gameplay as a platformer." Every room has large, well-designed playgrounds that allow players to solve environmental puzzles and overcome platforming challenges using various Tinykin types. There are pink Tinykin that can carry objects and red Tinykin that explode when they're tossed. You also have green Tinykin that can stack vertically to create a living ladder. The game allows you to get used to each Tinykin's unique talents by introducing them one at a time.
As you recruit more Tinykin, the puzzles will become more complex and well-crafted. Sometimes, it's as easy as lifting an over-sized appliance from your path. Others are scavenger hunts that require you to think of creative ways to traverse the globe to locate and retrieve lost items. Tinykin doesn't force you to think too hard, so solutions are often straightforward no matter how complex a puzzle may be. This level of challenge was enjoyable and not too simple. Tinykin's puzzle solving is fluid and easy to follow.
Tinykin control is intuitive and simple. You simply aim and throw them at the targets. Tinykin is able to perform tasks independently of me, which I love. It's great to have a dozen helpers lug things to their destinations, while I enjoy collecting pollen (used for hover abilities), finding missing letters for a bug, and completing side quests.
Tinykin is a collectable-a-thon, much like 3D platformers. It's rewarding to find hidden treasures and collect items. Sometimes it's just a bunch of pollen, other times it's the missing piece that's needed to complete an additional task, such as reuniting a photo with its frame. The world is a large, colorful jungle gym. I am impressed by how each room feels like it has been lived in, yet still maintains clear paths that seem organically arranged.
My Tinykin army was my favorite tool to play with, such as pushing in books and opening doors on washing machines. I had the best time exploring the world. This small perspective makes it easy to hop across a hallway, kitchen, or bathroom. Platforming is also a joy. To make it even more fun, you can ride soap bars over ziplines to move faster. Using climbing ropes to locate shortcuts makes it easier to find your way back. Because the busy environment makes quest givers feel like they are in a maze when it comes to turning in jobs, I wish there was a map.
Tinykin is comforting in an old-school way. Tinykin's problems are not complicated, and its design doesn't reinvent the wheel. That's fine. Tinykin executes its few ideas extremely well. It is a very enjoyable, laid-back adventure that takes six to eight hours of your attention. This delightful adventure should not be overlooked.
Did you miss our previous article...