Indietail – Tinykin

Expectations can be a fickle thing. You may look at Tinykin and think that it’s a game inspired by the Pikmin franchise – and in your hype over the upcoming new Pikmin game, you may buy it, play it and realise that it’s nothing like Pikmin… but that doesn’t have to be such a negative thing.

What I mean by that is that Tinykin clearly takes some inspiration from games like Pikmin and Overlord but it takes the creature-collection mechanics in a totally different direction, meaning that I was able to see that it’s a lot better than anything I could honestly have hoped for.

So, Tinykin is fantastic. That’s essentially what I’m trying to get at.

The review could end here, in theory, and I honestly thought about it for a while since anything I could say here could possibly ruin the many surprises that Tinykin has in store for the player. But you’re still reading this and I’m still writing, so I guess I’ll have to elaborate.

Developer: Splashteam
Publisher: tinyBuild
Genre: 3D Platformer, Exploration, Puzzle, Indie
Release Date: August 30th, 2022
Reviewed on: PC
Available on: PC, Switch, PS4, PS5, XB1, XBS, xCloud
Copy was provided by the publisher.
Elder Ridmi is explaining how the pink tinykin are the strongest and how, together, they can push or carry even the heaviest of objects.

After researching the origins of humans on a distant planet, the protagonist of the story, Milo, is convinced that humans came from a far-away planet called “Earth”. Hence, they make their way there and find out that they not only have been shrunk down considerably… but also that not a day has passed since 1991! Hence, you meet other characters and try to restore a device to help you solve the mystery of the Great Ardwin, the Tardigrades, and what else this house has in store for you.

As mentioned previously, this game takes some inspiration from Pikmin in that you collect small critters (the titular Tinykin) that you can then toss around to move objects, blow things up, or even build bridges. There are a few major areas and the game introduces a new mechanic in each and every one of them tied to the little creatures you amass as you explore the levels.

Milo is hanging out at a bar of sorts with playing cards pinned to the wall and playing chips functioning as cussions.

Each area features one main quest with a lot of different small steps that need to be accomplished in order to clear the area. Along the way, you’ll jump up house plants, slide on your soap board, and glide through the air using soap bubbles, all the while collecting Tinykin and Nectar.

The game doesn’t, however, just give you things to collect for the sake of collecting them. No, rather, by collecting at least 85% of the Nectar in each area, you unlock another bubble that extends your glide by quite a margin, making previously unaccessible areas accessible. On top of that, you can complete a collection of artefacts in the museum and make cute uwu insects happy. What more could you want?

Milo is looking at two Tinykin through the spy glass.

Where the game truly shines isn’t the way that Tinykin are used or the platforming. In my opinion, the true star of the game is the world that you’re navigating – and the creatures that live within.

The various areas follows a theme of sorts. While the corridor is literally a place that connects the various areas, the bathroom has become a party metropolis, mantises call the study their home, and shieldbugs are worshipping Ardwin in one of the early areas. These themes are executed fabulously.

Initially, I thought that this is very family-friendly but over time, I noticed how there’s strife and conflict in the house with the different insect societies following their own interests. You may host a giant party and deliver mail but you also quell a revolution and the story has a bit of a darker twist near the end, so…

I’d imagine that the game works well for kids and adults alike, especially since the latter may get all the references while young players may just try to stick a nose onto a sphinx and have fun with that.

A dung beetle named Keepa is asking "What's the air speed velocity of an unladen dungbeetle?"

While the quests are easy to solve and the platforming isn’t the most challenging part of the game, it’s the world that really sells this game for me. Exploration is a ton of fun and it’s quite fascinating how these intelligent insects have used the giant armchairs, tables, shelves, and other pieces of furniture to make this house truly their house.

It’s truly amazing and fun to go around and spot all sorts of small easter eggs and references, littered about in all the nooks and crannies of these ginormous areas!

And even if exploration is key, I never found myself truly “lost” as you could always look for a high-up vantage point to then take a peek through your spy glass in hopes of finding clues as to where to go next.

What’s more, is that the sound-design is superb. Tinykin’s soundtrack is a joy to behold and never grows tiresome. At the same time, though, I was surprised by the amount of detail that the developers put into this game with instruments making sounds as you jump on them and the little Tinykin grunting rhythmically in line with their movements. It’s honestly fun to go round jumping on xylophones and drums as you make your way through some of the areas.

Picture: Milo is overlooking a huge bathroom area with many neon lights and collectables.

But while the exploration, sound and world design are amazing, I found backtracking a little annoying. Especially then when you’ve played through the game after eight or so hours and when you’re achievement hunting, I would have loved to maybe get a tool to find Pollen or Tinykin that I missed easier.

At the same time, all the 3D platforming is really, really easy and I would have loved it if there were more challenging areas present in the game, just as a bonus for those that want to prove themselves. Similarly, the puzzles are never exactly hard. The game doesn’t give you much freedom in terms of where you can put Tinykin or what you do with them. Once they’re introduced, you’ll always just collect them, go to places to move a bag of flour or a camera, and if you don’t have enough to do so, you simply explore a little and collect a lot until you can do it again.

Picture: An ant named Jonmoulin is shouting "I'll make my mom proud! Vive la résistance!" while shieldbugs are menacingly looking at it.

Overall, though, I found the Tinykin experience to be incredibly satisfying. I was sitting here with a huge grin on my face for most of the game and even if it isn’t the most challenging game in the world, I found it to be incredibly fun to play through and explore. Again, the way the levels are designed and the way that the insects have built their own societies in the various rooms is incredibly creative.

This may not be another Pikmin game but it’s a really good 3D platformer with cute 2D Art in 3D environments. Resources are abundant, so you don’t need to think much. I highly recommend Tinykin for anyone that’s into exploration and platforming!

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken. If you like what you see here and want to see more, you can check me out on Twitch and YouTube as well.

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