“A Colorful Game That Exceeds Expectations”
Last month I penned a brief preview of The Last Tinker: City of Colors, a platform game slated for a summer 2014 release by Mimimi Productions. I wrote that the game was a fun, colorful experience that hinted at things we love from other games while bringing some fresh new energy to the table. Recently I was lucky enough to be given the chance to do a full game review for The Last Tinker, and I was so pleased to find that the game continued upward and only got better as I played on. The game gives you a simple story outline to start out with: Your name is Koru and you live in Tinkerworld, a beautiful place where anything is possible if your creative mind is up for the challenge, but where segregation has separated the people into four districts based on their color. You are a charismatic young fellow living amongst people clearly different from you, and you have gifts that even you don’t know about yet. A great evil is threatening to wipe out all the colors of Tinkerworld, and it’s up to Koru to stop it by finding out just what makes him so special.
The gameplay of The Last Tinker is nothing particularly new; it seems to run as a blend of a speed comparable to the Sonic the Hedgehog series, but breaks for fun and entertaining puzzles. The combat is not especially worth mentioning, as it feels more like an afterthought that wasn’t truly a necessary part of gameplay. As the game progresses, and more moves and abilities are added (and there are a LOT of them), the combat steadily improves albeit remaining very repetitive. However that hiccup is easily overlooked in a game that clearly relies much more on aesthetic and energy than combat.
One of the most delightful aspects of The Last Tinker is your squeaky, sheep-like companion, Tap, who gives the game so much personality from its adorable little sounds to its loving attachment to Koru. Seeing as Koru has chosen to be a silent hero, Tap does most of your speaking for you and often with just a hint of sass and humor. Tap also works as a navigation system and a guide, and this one of the rare times when that type of character isn’t universally found to be rather annoying to deal with.
I have few real complaints about The Last Tinker, but they should be noted. The movement mechanics feel awkward and the use of forced jumping is difficult to adjust to. Despite what I assume was an effort to try a new and different model of movement, this ends up being very frustrating to deal with due to a rather touchy system. This is a minor complaint really, but something that if it were improved would have made for a much more pleasant game experience.
Another small issue I take with this game is in the sheer amount of dialogue that takes place. A game that is so visually stimulating starts to feel slightly bogged down by excessive amounts of explanation and information. While I enjoyed learning about the history and inhabitants of Tinkerworld, after a while I found myself trying to simply get through the unnecessary speaking parts. It makes me wonder if some of these sequences could have been left out, or perhaps conveyed in a more entertaining way.
As I noted in my preview article, it was the music of this game that stuck with me long after I finished playing. The lovely soundtrack makes subtle changes as you enter new parts of the world, but always stays simple and pleasing to the ear. Each level had a distinct musical track that really set the right mood for the challenges ahead. The score of a game really has the potential to keep you sucked in and with the music of The Last Tinker, I felt completely captivated the entire time.
I predicted in my initial preview of The Last Tinker that it would be a game that would appeal to many and leave no one wanting and I stand by that thought. Mimimi Productions makes smart choices in stating The Last Tinker will be released on many different platforms, and that those playing on PC will be able to enjoy controller support if they so choose. And as it happens, this sort of game may benefit from being played that way. I recommend The Last Tinker for those looking for a joyful and unique gaming experience that will have them whistling the soundtrack long after the credits roll.