Review: Tiny and Big in Grandpa’s Leftovers. #blogjune 19

I first encountered Tiny and Big as a concept demonstration released over the net a few years ago. It’s aim was to replicate real-world physics in a cartoon 3d world – with the specific goal of allowing and encouraging the player to modify the scenery to solve problems.Little and Big - I almost got killed

The primary tool for this is a laser cutter. After using the mouse to point it at a rock, moving the mouse forms a line then bisects the rock. The knack of the game lies in creating cuts that allow rocks and other objects to fall creating new ramps, stairways and so on.

The game itself, for the hour or so I’ve explored it, stays more or less within this set of tools. Added are a grappling hook to pull things with, and a rocket gun which which to push remote objects.

The storyline is played for laughs – Tiny is presented as a technically capable emotional simpleton, and Big is a bully, who has stolen the titular Grandpa’s underpants and spirited them away to a desert location.

Unfortunately, the gameplay over time forms a string of tense moments with little letup. Each new rock – or column, or statue, or what have you – is cut with the worry that further problems will be created down the track. Levels seem to be designed as either wide open spaces with overly-plentiful opportunities for falling, or claustrophobically small crawlspaces.

There is definitely a lot of care put into the experience – the tutorial plays out in a simulated gameboy ostensibly being handled by Tiny, and a particularly frustrating sequence of play cutting through a set of stones on a cliffside is revealed to be “dental work” (see below) – both sweet jokes which provide a momentary smile. That being said, it’s an unfortunate rule that care on the part of a game designer is not necessarily met by enjoyment on the part of the player. I found my time exploring the world of Tiny and Big to be a tense, anxious experience. I don’t like games to be easy, but those feelings don’t give me a sense of escape.

I paid ninety-nine cents on sale for Tiny and Big. My usual rule of thumb is to compare the price of a game to the price of a going to the cinemas, and on that front I’ve received value for money. I wouldn’t have felt so if I’d paid it’s full price of ten dollars. I’m all about indie, but sometimes a novel concept just doesn’t make for a great game.

Dental work

Dental work

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About seanmurgatroyd
Library (Shared blog): http://diligentroom.wordpress.com/ Personal including infoculture, book reviews: http://diligentroom.wordpress.com/ Music: http://seanfishmusic.wordpress.com/ Last.fm band page: http://www.last.fm/music/Seanfish @seanfish

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