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Tinykin Review

Tinykin is obviously inspired by Pikmin, but it thankfully is not derivative of it. There are not too many experiences like the Pikmin games; you could count them all on a single hand. Amazingly, Tinykin‘s similarities to Miyamoto’s baby only goes so far and it’s more unique than one would expect.

Nintendo no longer has a monopoly on games with a small space man in an oversized world who enslaves miniscule, color-coded gremlins to attack or carry stuff. What kind of experience does Tinykin have to offer? Will it be enough to hold over fans before Pikmin 4 comes out? Find out in our Tinykin review!

Tinykin
Developer: Splashteam
Publisher: tinyBuild
Platforms: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch (reviewed)
Release Date: August 30, 2022
Players: 1
Price: $24.99 USD 

Utilizing 2D and 3D hybrid visuals and focusing more on adventure game elements over real-time strategy, Tinykin is a completely different beast than Pikmin. The approach to the animation is a bit limited; characters can only be seen from one angle, but it never holds the game back.

After a little bit of getting used to it, the one-sided visual style becomes a part of Tinykin’s identity. Milo the astro-guy has a design that is best described as Jhonen Vasquez meets saccharine bean-mouth. Though you can only see one side of the characters, they make up for it with very fluid animation.

There is a cynicism to the cold industrial elements that contrast with the warm and inviting homey setting. The locale evokes a nostalgic pang of children playing with random bits and bobs; arranging them and using their imagination. The entire world is expressed with this philosophy, as well as the level design.

The gameplay seems familiar at first to Pikman veterans, but after some progress, Tinykin shows its hand. There is no survival mechanics or looming countdown to inevitable doom. All the player has to concern themselves with is collecting and exploring.

Milo is able to jump, glide, and grind rails with a bar of soap, Tony Hawk-style. He throws the varieties of tinykins with rifle-like precision and at the rate the player can tap a button. There is even a lock-on that makes it so Milo can circle strafe around his target as he lobs his slaves to a violent assault.

There is no need to rescue stray comrades; the tinykins have a precise and automatic guidance. They are so effective that their mass is almost irrelevant and might as well exist as an ammo counter for the player to read. This streamlined approach makes Tinykin a very approachable game, and much faster paced than anything else like it before.

Stages are interconnected via a hub and Milo will venture out to find various objects to assemble a spacecraft. The reactive controls and range of mobility makes Tinykin a lot closer to being a traditional 3D platformer, and a good one too.

Environments are incredibly varied and are packed with collectibles. Obscure nooks and crannies will lead to different varieties of tinykins which can further expand Milo’s reach and make progress. Level design is vertical and ascending higher reveals cheeky shortcuts.

Great care was put into the audio; almost every surface Milo walks on has its own sound. It is a small but appreciated touch that adds a lot of texture to the world and grounds the characters in the setting.

Moving through areas and getting what Milo needs flows at a brisk and satisfying pace. The only drawback is the overall game is so tightly designed and focused, it feels like it ends too soon. Tinykin is already a very low-stress game with almost no punishment for failure. Getting through it so fast (less that six hours) will leave most gamers wanting.

Desperately trying to squeeze more play out of Tinykin by aiming for 100% will add a few more hours, but there is not enough incentive. Some gamers could understandably find this aspect completely repugnant, but sometimes a brisk game that doesn’t demand extensive commitment can feel freeing.

Tinykin is a game aimed for children. It is completely wholesome and free of politics or the kind of pessimism an adult has from living past 30. Grown-ups who choose to give this a chance should consider putting themselves in a kid’s headspace when engaging with this game.

There is no shame in enjoying a simplistic and easy-going 3D platformer adventure game. Sometimes the best experiences are not exhilarating or harrowing tension. Once in a while, calming catharsis of playing around on the floor can be rewarding in ways the most exciting action games can’t.

Tinykin is a humble little game with modest aspirations for a target audience that is often neglected. Children can enjoy it, but so can children-at-heart too. Tinykin’s imaginative and creative visuals that overcome its limitations make it stand out. Most importantly, it feels really good to play because of its tight controls and its kinesthetic feedback.

Tinykin was reviewed on Nintendo Switch using a copy provided by tinyBuild. You can find additional information about Niche Gamer’s review/ethics policy here. Tinykin is now available for Windows PC (via Steam), Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5 and Nintendo Switch.

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The Verdict: 9

The Good

  • Appealing visual style that mixes 2D animation with 3D environments
  • Fluid and responsive controls
  • Laidback and stimulating gameplay
  • Wholesome and kid-friendly
  • Impressive sense of scale

The Bad

  • For its price, it is very short with low replay value

About

A youth destined for damnation.