Writing this Tinykin review is a little bittersweet for me. On the one hand, I get to review an exceptional and endlessly creative video game. On the other, it is my final review for The Game Crater. One of the many highlights of my career with The Game Crater was previewing Tinykin in February of this year. At the time, I called it “brilliantly innovative and outstandingly unique”, claiming that I simply could not “fathom enjoying another title as much this year.” Fortunately, my prediction came true, and I am incredibly grateful that my last review on this site should be dedicated to such a phenomenally magnificent work of art.
“Perhaps what is more impressive than Tinykin’s overwhelmingly impressive attention to detail, is its ability to create dynamic and awe-inspiringly large levels.”
I fear that, for those who read my preview of Tinykin all those months ago, I may sound like a broken record. My feelings after playing through the game’s first level, have not altered in the slightest after having completed the entire game. It remains a visual marvel, so vividly vibrant, so creatively wholesome in its execution of both its 2D and 3D models. Bouncing throughout its varied levels was a genuine joy, not least because its gameplay is so rivetingly exhilarating, but because I remained slack-jawed at how tremendously exciting each and every intricate detail was.
Perhaps what is more impressive than Tinykin’s overwhelmingly impressive attention to detail, is its ability to create dynamic and awe-inspiringly large levels. The sheer scale of each area is overwhelming at first and yet beckons you in to explore its myriad of secrets hidden within. Much like a good escape room, Tinykin lures you in with the promise of intriguing puzzles and a well-decorated area before surprising you with even more detail, ingenious design and – on occasion – even rooms.
“I often wished that it would go on forever and bring more of its finely crafted worlds to explore.”
One of the many aspects that stood out to me when I first played Tinykin was its unique approach to level design. Instead of having an open area that felt like a cohesive whole, Tinykin opts to have an open-areas filled with many smaller worlds that connect to create an entirely new entity. This dynamic approach to building each level meant that I was constantly uncovering something new and exciting, as opposed to feeling as if I’d seen and done everything within the first few moments.
It’s riveting to see what Tinykin’s masterful levels have in store for you. Whether it’s a gorgeously designed bar serving drinks to a colourful cast of characters or a fancy dining scene hidden within a cupboard, I was always left with a smile on my face. Perhaps my only criticism of Tinykin is that this sense of wonder diminishes ever so slightly as the game progresses. Some levels apply this design philosophy a little loosely – although, fortunately, don’t entirely do away with it – making their worlds feel a little less coherent or purposeful.
Nevertheless, exploring each and every one of Tinykin’s levels was a genuine delight. They all offer something completely new, both in set dressing and tone, which makes progressing through the game all the more exciting. I was often left wishing that Tinykin would go on forever, bringing me more and more of its finely crafted worlds to explore.
“Tinykin knows just when to help you, and when to let you be a child exploring a world of truly exciting wonders.”
In terms of gameplay, Tinykin does not fail to disappoint. This is perhaps one of the most approachable platformers I have ever had the pleasure of playing. Its level design is clear enough that you’re never going to get lost, with new routes unlocking as you progress allowing you to travel back to hub areas with ease. The platforming itself is undeniably slick, never feeling too weightless, nor too heavy. Each jump feels perfectly balanced, ensuring that so long as you correctly align yourself, you’re bound to reach your intended destination.
Furthermore, its open-ended approach to achieving each of its objectives allows the player to explore at their own pace. You’re never forced down one particular route, meaning the way you approach a level may be altogether different from mine. Tinykin really respects the player’s time and inquisitorial mind. It wants you to have fun in its playground of endless joy and knows in order for that to happen, it has to set you free. That’s not to say Tinykin doesn’t hold your hand if you want it to. This isn’t a game of frustration. Far from it. Rather, Tinykin knows just when to help you, and when to let you be a child exploring a world of truly exciting wonders.
“It is the first game ever that I genuinely wished to get 100% in, even if it took a little longer to do so.”
The central objective is by far the easiest, requiring you to do some simple platforming and puzzling. These aren’t joyless or drab. I derived a lot of pleasure from the creative storytelling that went into each one, and the exhilarating feeling of completing them. However, I admittedly found the optional content to be more enjoyable. Collecting all of the nectar, for example, sees you explore every nook and cranny of a level, and even engage in some of Tinykin’s trickier platforming segments.
For completionists, Tinykin is a rather enjoyable experience. It is the first game ever that I genuinely wished to get 100% in, even if it took a little longer to do so. I found myself engrossed by the act of finding the last three pieces of nectar in a level. My girlfriend, who also became equally as invested, jumped for joy as I found the very last piece of nectar in all of Tinykin. Suffice to say, we both felt a bittersweet sentiment as the game’s credits rolled.
“I can confirm that not only is Tinykin the best game of 2022, but one of the best games of all time.”
As I write this review, I’m listening to the soundtrack to My Neighbour Totoro. Like Tinykin, My Neighbour Totoro signalled the end of something. I listened to it rather a lot while studying for my final year of university. It practically played me out of my university’s doors as I hopped on the train back home ready to explore a whole new, unpredictable, frankly scary yet exciting world.
As I was playing Tinykin, I didn’t know that I would be moving on from this incredibly enjoyable job. I simply indulged in the childlike delights that it offered with a smile on my face the entire time. However, like My Neighbour Totoro, it has unknowingly become an incredibly important part of my life. It is a game I will remember for the rest of my life, a game that has gotten me through one of toughest transitions I’ve ever faced.
I bring all of this up not to mope about how my life is changing, but rather to stress just how incredible and wholesomely wonderful Tinykin is. I only place such importance on this magical game because of how much I enjoyed it. How much it inspired and moved me. This experience of playing Tinykin is only important to me because of how amazing it truly is. When I said that Tinykin looked set to be the best game of 2022 back in my preview, I was hopeful. Now, having played the entire game, I can confirm that not only is Tinykin the best game of 2022, but one of the best games of all time.
You can pick up Tinykin on PlayStation, Xbox, Xbox Game Pass, PC and the Nintendo Switch right now.