Have you ever just wanted a game to wrap you up like a warm blanket on a cold winter’s day? A game that is joyful, happy and complete comfort food in playable form? If you answered yes, then you are probably a huge Nintendo fan. Over on the Mario-led console, each first-party release falls into this description perfectly.
On the Xbox side of things the happy mascot days are long gone, replaced by massive chainsaw guns and multiplayer pirate action. All are extremely great experiences but more often than not the Nintendo-like experience passes us Xbox fans these days.
For those craving that wholesome experience, enter Tinykin – it could just be that twinkle in your game collection you’ve been seeking. From developers Splashteam and published by tinyBuild, Tinykin is a heartwarming adventure that – while it lasts – will bring a smile to even the most hardened Xbox gamer’s faces.
The best way to describe Tinykin is as a wonderful mashup of Paper Mario-like characters that have a slight Rick and Morty essence, and the great Pikmin series. You play as Milo, a scientist who has recently rediscovered the planet Earth. Teleporting to his discovery, Milo finds out that there’s a catch.
Milo is now the size of a thimble, yep he is minuscule. Finding himself in a normal-sized house, he must make it back home by piecing together a spaceship that has had all of its parts spread throughout different rooms of the house. To complete his task of rebuilding the ship, Milo must call on the help of the local “people” and the Tinykins.
These small dot-sized creatures are housed inside eggs that you need to squish in order to release. Each Tinykin has a special power that can assist Milo to collect the pieces needed to return home. Playing very much like Pikmin, these Tinykin can come in very handy in the platform-based exploration around the giant house.
The purple Tinykin are the first kind you will find and these are the muscle, using their strength to move objects out the road or to help carry items to their destination. Your red Tinykin is the one you will find most of; little critters which explode when thrown at a red highlighted object, opening up new areas to explore.
Whilst exploring you will find puzzles to complete, progressing the story. None of these are ever too head-scratchingly hard and tend to be completed rather easily as the solutions are always obvious. The most frequent puzzles involve connecting electrical wires to sockets to turn on various electronics that can open new areas or even blow objects to another part of the room.
Each of the rooms is delivered as a different part of the house, containing a unique society of insects and creatures that have taken up home within. From the downstairs living room to the twin society bathroom and toilet, each new level is an absolute pleasure to explore, mostly thanks to the rock-solid platforming that handles incredibly well.
Traversing the rooms is a lot of fun, Milo has a bubble that can be activated with a second press of jump, enabling him to extend the distance he can travel. There are no enemies to speak of in Tinykin so there are no attack moves. Yet besides basic movement and jumping you also have a soap board.
Acting like a mini Tony Hawk, pressing X allows Milo to travel at speed using a small thin bar of soap like a skateboard. You can’t pull off tricks – something which would have been nice – but you can grind the rails across various sections of the room, once you have unlocked them by throwing a red Tinykin, their way of course.
It’s all helped by the fact that the music in the game is excellent. The melodies in every part of the house never become an annoyance and the various tunes fit the ambience of the area Milo is currently in.
Story spoilers aside, the main tale is a really pleasant adventure; one that comes with a twist close to the end. Any member of the family can sit down and play Tinykin without worrying about any distressing or scary themes and it genuinely feels like a missing member of Nintendo’s first-party lineup.
But I can’t say that it is all sunshine and rainbows sadly. Tinykin is tiny by name and nature. Total playtime with some optional collectables and quests completed will clock in at around four and a bit hours. Not outstaying your welcome is usually a good thing but in Tinykin’s case, it all gets up and leaves a bit too early.
Perhaps a sequel could feature a longer campaign and perhaps some more variety with the Tinykin themselves. I mean the five included are great but adding one that could freeze water to create platforms or another with a stop time gimmick could lead to some further hilarious antics. Perhaps even adding a soap board dedicated area with added tricks and boosts to pump would up the capabilities of Milo’s transport.
That being said Tinykin, although short, deserves a huge amount of attention. A well-loved Disney movie run through Futurama via Pikmin is what you get here and there is no other way to describe it other than being a joy to play; an experience you won’t find anywhere else on the Xbox system.
You’ll want to grab Tinykin – in doing so you’ll be able to enjoy a wonderful sci-fi adventure with some cool mechanics and top-notch platforming.
Tinykin is available from the Xbox Store