As soon as it was announced in 2020, Tinykin was given the label of “French Pikmin”. If the title signed Splashteam takes up the concept of the license created by Shigeru Miyamoto (the exploitation of the extraordinary capacities of small cute creatures), it adapts it brilliantly to the 3D platform game.
Archaeologist and researcher emeritus of the planet Aegis, Milodane is particularly interested in the origin of his people, the humans. His research will make him locate a distant planet which could be the cradle of humanity. Listening only to his thirst for discovery, Milo decides to teleport to this mysterious destination!
When he wakes up, Milo discovers with amazement that he is in a gigantic house whose smallest everyday object is several hundred times its size. A strange hairy creature named Ridmi greets him, as other equally unique little creatures, the tinykins, seem to take a liking to him. Ridmi is surprised: tinykins don’t usually interact with anyone. Ridmi, who like Milo is a scientist, sees an opportunity here. He offers the young explorer to use the tinykins to make a machine capable of bringing him home, following an enigmatic plan that would have been devised by the human who lives in the house. Milo accepts, and who knows, the adventures that await him may answer his questions about the origin of his people…
A microscopic adventure
Accompanied by tinykins picked up along the way, Milo embarks on the great adventure. His objective is to get his hands on the 5 objects necessary to manufacture the machine likely to bring him back to his planet. A more difficult quest than it seems when you are only a few centimeters tall. Fortunately, Milo can count on his new little companions with extraordinary abilities. There are 5 types of tinykins, each with their own abilities. The first ones we encounter are the purple tinykins, which could be called “porters” since they are the only ones who can lift and carry objects. Then quickly, we meet the red specimens which have the particularity of being explosive, practical for destroying obstacles. The use of tinykins is easily done by aiming at the object with which we want them to interact. The selection of the type of tinykins to use is done automatically according to the type of the targeted object, a welcome mechanism that makes the action smoother.
Tinykin is a puzzle-oriented 3D platform game. In this mix, the tinykins have been designed to be our only progression tool. With each new problematic situation is introduced a new type of tinykins providing the solution. Milo can move quickly on his surfboard, and even hover in a bubble, his great mobility would be useless without his sidekicks. They are the ones who unblock situations by interacting with the environment.
To obtain the objects he covets, Milo must complete many quests, pretexts for mini-puzzles, with the insects who have taken over the house and who hold the said objects. Help them organize a big party, follow a cooking recipe, the requests are multiple and crazy. As we progress, the puzzles get richer (without ever being very complicated), requiring synergies between the different types of tinykins at our disposal.
In the end, the Pikmin-like gameplay coupled with platforming and puzzles works perfectly and constitutes an original revisit of the genre. The variety of game sequences and their constant renewal are appreciable. And it must be said that it is very satisfying to put all our little beasts in place and then only have to contemplate the result of the operations.
A marvelous exploration
Exploration is at the heart of Tinykin. Milo’s adventure will lead him to discover the different rooms of the house. They are designed as large open levels dotted with puzzles to solve and side quests. Various tribes of varied insects populate each of the rooms, it’s a whole microcosm that has developed there! A terribly careful job has been done here to make everything coherent. It is also amusing to see dung beetles obsessed with cleanliness in the bathroom and revolutionary worker ants. It’s a real pleasure to discover the universe imagined by the Splashteam. An almost childlike feeling accompanies these discoveries, a form of wonder to discover the world from another perspective and above all to live an adventure within this tiny society. A feeling that reminds us of other works with miniature protagonists such as Toys Story, Arrietty: The Little World of Pilferers or It Takes Two, and which alone is an important motivation to explore every corner of the game.
The immersion and coherence of all this little world is reinforced by an excellent narration. The characters and the dialogues are full of humour, cultural references abound (video games, cinema, history, politics… Anything goes!). The secondary quests, distributed here and there in the levels, make us obtain objects (called “souvenirs”) having belonged to Ardwin, thus detailing the scenario and enriching the lore. For the most observant players, Tinykin has a strong environmental storytelling power that will delight them. These narrative elements form so many points of interest pushing the player to explore every corner of the house to unearth every secret. In general, the artistic direction is a real success. The cartoon look gives a “cartoon” touch that fits perfectly with the colorful and family universe of the title. Rendering 2D characters in a 3D environment works well. The scalable audio track (which adapts to the action) is a great idea.
All of Tinykin’s game design choices serve exploration. This can be seen in particular in the way Milo’s mobility has been thought out. The levels are vast, but with his surf-soap Milo can move quickly. A room can even be crossed in a few seconds by sliding on the silk threads present everywhere. As a carrot encouraging us to explore, pollen to be collected like coins in Mario is scattered throughout the levels. A labor that will be rewarded by the increase in the duration during which Milo can hover in his soap bubble, enough to reach places that are ever more difficult to access and explore more. Finally, a strong choice of Tinykin which demonstrates the importance given to exploration is the absence of confrontations. An absence which has the advantage of not “cutting off” the player in his exploration and which never misses a terribly successful formula.
- The “Pikmin gameplay” is perfectly suited to platform and puzzle-games.
- The pleasure of exploration and discovery.
- A fascinating microscopic world.
- The humor of the characters and dialogues.
- A well-crafted narrative.
- We are not bored for a second during the 6-7 hours of play.
- Given the substantial size of the levels, we regret not being able to “mark” points of interest with our pair of binoculars to better navigate.
- We would have liked to have more: a challenging end game, an additional game mode…
Tinykin brilliantly revisits the “Pikmin-like” by successfully adapting it to the platform game with puzzle-game inclinations. A real invitation to explore, one can only be fascinated by the incredible microscopic universe imagined by the Splashteam. Generous, teeming with details, full of humour, the Tinykin adventure will appeal to young and old alike. We want more!
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