Tinykin – Nintendo Switch Review

Overview – developed by Splashteam and Splashteam S.A.S. with publishing handled by Tinybuild, Tinykin is a 3D puzzle platformer with a style of play similar to that of Pikmin. An archaeologist from an alien planet travels to earth, discovering they have shrunk to a tiny size in huge house populated by an alien society. This title is available on all major platforms, with a link to each version of the game available at the bottom of this review.

Disclaimer: before I get into the review, I would like to thank Tinybuild for providing the copy of Tinykin that was used for this piece. The provision of this software has not influenced the contents of this review, all thoughts and opinions contained within are my own.

Now with the introductions out of the way, let’s get into the review, starting off with the story. I will also be covering the core aspects of this release to prevent spoiling some of the surprises for players.

Story – On the planet of Aegis, Milodane is an archaeologist and researcher in the most prestigious university on the planet. After studying the various artifacts, relics and fossils that have been discovered, he has come to a conclusion that humans originate from somewhere else. During his research, Milo discovered an ancient signal from a nearby galaxy that is human in origin. Milo explored all of the nearby planets before finding the source, setting out to discover the secrets of Humanity’s origins.

Gameplay – Tinykin is a 3D puzzle platforming adventure, with the player exploring a huge house as the tiny astronaut Milodane. The core gameplay loop of this title is exploring the areas of the house, completing missions and collecting power-ups/special items. As the story progresses, the player will discover different locations and insect societies while guided by the moth Ridmi, who will provide narrative details to the player.

The main objective for this release is to collect the parts of a device that are located around the house. To achieve this goal, the player must complete different quests for the residents of each area, with each new piece opening up a new area to explore. The quests often have multiple steps that need to be completed in order to continue, like collecting required items, overcoming platforming challenges or gaining access to locked spaces.

The way that the majority of these quests are completed is by using the titular Tinykin, an alien life form that has found its way into the house. The Tinykin each have their own unique skills determined by color, with red being explosive and pink being able to move objects to name a few. To obtain them, the player can break open boxes or open Tinykin eggs to add them to the army. The Tinykin are tied to the area they are discovered, allowing players to return without being unprepared.

However, the Tinykin don’t last forever, as some of them can be destroyed when used. For example, the explosive kin will disappear when thrown at a breakable object, making their powers a single use ability. This makes it important to bear their use in mind, as the various destructible objects have a specific number of kin needed to break them. But opening pathways isn’t the only way that these little aliens can help, as they can be used to solve puzzles and access other areas.

Alongside the tiny alien creatures, the player can also use gear that can be used during play. The equipment includes a soap board that lets the player grind silk rails and a bubble that lets players glide. The different equipment allows players to experiment during exploration, with some of it being upgradable which allows previously unreachable areas to be accessed. All of these pieces come together with the Tinykin to make for a satisfying exploration system.

The objectives to obtain the parts of the devices are the main attraction, but there is more to the game than just the main quest. During the course of the game, the player can take on special race challenges that provide medals and unique bonuses as a reward for success. These races focus on speed, so skillful use of the soap board and silk rails is the key to success. There is also Nectar and other collectables scattered through the house, providing an extra challenge for completionists.

The last thing to discuss is the house itself. The different locations have their own unique hazards, such as water and extreme drops that can instantly kill the player. But do not fret, as there are no game overs in this release, with each “death” simply resetting the player to a previous state right before they pop. This checkpoint system makes the game accessible and drastically reduces the difficulty of the game, allowing all players a fair chance to reach the end.

Now with the gameplay covered, it is time to move onto the other aspects of this release, starting with the controls.

Controls – the control scheme for Tinykin is laid out very well, with all of the buttons placed in a way that makes it easy for players to simply pick the game up and play. When playing in handheld mode using Joy-Cons, the movement is much more precise with the direction buttons, as the thumbstick doesn’t have the travel of other controllers. The pro controller is the best way to play the game when in tabletop or docked mode, but the overall experience is very comfortable from a control perspective.

Presentation – the visual style for this release is a mix of 3D environments with flat 2D sprites, which really gives this game a unique graphical charm. The sprites are expressive, with the way that they are drawn bringing life to the characters. The game runs buttery smooth with zero dips in performance or frame rate no matter where it is set. The sound is very good also, with music that fits the different locations, some light narration during cutscene animation and simple sound effects to NPC voices.

Final Thoughts – at first glance, Tinykin may appear to be a Pikmin clone, but it has enough depth and unique charm to stand out on its own. The house the game takes place looks like a time capsule of the 90s, with a large stereo high-fi, an old school CRT television and vinyl records to name a few details. This visual design gives a hint of nostalgia to the experience, making for interesting exploration/platforming challenges to take on like going inside a TV to find a jewel.

I am happy to recommend this release to everyone, as Tinykin has a lot of fun to offer players along with an accessible and easy to pick up mechanics. There are some areas of the game that can be challenging, such as the optional races that can be unlocked. These make it a rewarding title for completionist players, providing a little more for completionist players and the extra objectives knock it up a notch. Overall this is a great game, however, the main game may be a little short for some players.

In the end, I give Tinykin a final score of 4.5/5. This is a fun and charming adventure, taking the concepts that were established by others and uses them to create a unique experience, especially with the unique setting and presentation. Tinykin is a fun experience that can be enjoyed by everyone, with a low barrier of entry and a lot of depth to the game itself. If you want to check this release out for yourself, a link to each version of the game will be below.

Link to Nintendo switch version (HERE)

Link to PlayStation version (HERE)

Link to Xbox version (HERE)

Link to Steam version (HERE)

Link to GOG version (HERE)

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