Tinykin is a startlingly innovative achievement and a spectacularly unique marvel that was a genuinely delightful experience from start to finish. It is undoubtedly one of the most outstandingly exceptional games I have ever played, and I firmly believe it is easily a contender for the best indie game of the year.
“Exploring these dreamlike environments was a genuinely exhilarating delight.”
Tinykin has an insatiably addictive vision, one so clear and concise, so perfectly executed that it’s hard not to admire both its lofty and achieved accomplishments and the countless innovations it brings. One of the most apparent perfections in Tinykin is its phenomenal visual style, a blend of stunning 3D environments and gorgeous 2D art.
Exploring these dreamlike environments full of familiar objects expertly repurposed in intricately creative ways to create a believably brilliant world, is a genuinely exhilarating delight. Each section of the demo’s vast level is its own detailed microcosm, a world in and of itself that offers its own wonders and marvels. It is hard not to appreciate the level of detail on offer here, with each item feeling incredibly purposeful.
The 2D artwork for the plethora of characters that populate this exciting new world is staggeringly stunning. The sprites feel simultaneously retro with their pastel colour palette and contemporarily cartoonish due to their Saturday Morning Cartoon designs. Uncovering a hidden restaurant tucked away in the crevice of a cat scratching post filled with the lively ebullient faces of a myriad of insects was always a profound pleasure.
“There was clearly a great deal of care given to the Tinykin’s exuberantly ebullient soundtrack.”
One aspect of video games that I don’t tend to pay nearly enough attention to is sound design. However, while the crunching sound of worn-out boots against frost-covered grass in a JRPG may fade into the background, not only did I greatly appreciate the sound design in Tinykin, but it felt like an intrinsic part of the entire experience.
Due to the incredibly varied nature of Tinykin’s level design, there are numerous types of surfaces for you to adventure across. You’ll galavant across piano keys, jettison yourself from the head of a drum and clamber your way across conveniently positioned leaves. Each one of them, in addition to the myriad of other surfaces, produce their own sound which greatly adds to the already impressive level of immersion that Tinykin offers.
Furthermore, there was clearly a great deal of care given to the game’s exuberantly ebullient soundtrack. Not only is it a cheerfully animated accompaniment to the game’s already fantastically fulfilling gameplay loop, but it has the added benefit of altering depending on which location you visit.
Should you be in the church, then the song will feature a harmonious choir, or if you’re puzzling your way through the piano then the song will aptly shift to being played entirely on the piano. This level of detail only helps to further immerse the player and continue to expand on the game’s impressive level of variety.
“Tinykin truly is a playground of possibilities, offering up a number of fantastic objectives for me to complete.”
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Tinykin’s gameplay is its approach to open-level design. The immensely vast level I was able to explore in the demo was revolutionarily groundbreaking, offering an abundance of interesting ways to interact with it. Never have I seen a world so full of charisma, character and life populated with a plethora of genuinely enjoyable things to see and do.
The level truly was a playground of possibilities, offering up a number of fantastic objectives both passive and active for me to complete. Side quests offering lore-building trinkets in exchange for solving intricate puzzles rewarded me with a purpose beyond the extremely enjoyable exploration. Collectibles and currency spurred on a further inquisitorial investigation, pushing me to go outside the familiar and venture into the unknown nooks and crannies scattered across the game’s lavishly decorated world.
But perhaps the biggest innovation that Tinykin brings to open-level design is its worlds-within-worlds philosophy. Throughout the enormous yet densely packed level are smaller, more intricately detailed locations. These serve as respites from the greater task at hand and offer you fun intimate conversations with the game’s many charming characters. They elevate an already compelling sense of exploration and adventure by offering up a level of diversity rarely found in other games. It helps make the world feel far more believable and dynamic, which in turn makes the overall experience that much more enjoyable.
Tinykin’s demo took me nearly three hours to beat due to the sheer amount of enjoyment I derived from exploring its outstandingly mesmerising world and engaging with its plethora of unique and intricately creative gameplay mechanics. Were this demo its own game, I would have scored it 10/10, which speaks volumes to the uncontrollable excitement I feel toward the prospect of playing the full release later this year.
Tinykin is an incredibly ambitious experience with an exceptionally creative team of developers perfectly producing it and offering a mind-bogglingly brilliant playground for all to enjoy. While perhaps a little premature, Tinykin impressed me so much that I simply cannot fathom enjoying another title as much this year. Its intensely addictive gameplay loop, groundbreaking open-level design and unbelievably impressive visuals make Tinykin a truly phenomenal experience that is impossible to forget.
Tinykin launches later this Summer for the Nintendo Switch, Xbox, PlayStation and PC. You can head on over to its Steam store page to wishlist it and be notified of any future updates.