When it was announced in 2020, Tinykin was given the label “French Pikmin”. If the title signed by Splashteam takes the concept of the license created by Shigeru Miyamoto (the exploitation of the unique capacities of small cute creatures), it is adapted well to the game on the 3D platform.
The archaeologist and researcher emeritus of the planet Aegis, Milodane is particularly interested in the origins of his people, the humans. His research leads him to find a distant planet that could be the cradle of humanity. Just listening to his thirst for discovery, Milo decided to teleport to this mysterious destination!
When he wakes up, Milo discovers to his amazement that he is in a huge house with the smallest everyday object several hundred times its size. A strange furry creature named Ridmi greets him, as other equally strange little creatures, the little skinks, seemed to like him. Ridmi was surprised: tinykins usually don’t get along with anyone. Ridmi, who like Milo is a scientist, sees an opportunity here. He offers the young explorer to use the tinykins to build a machine that can take him home, following a mysterious plan supposedly created by the man who lives in the house. Milo accepts, and knows, the adventures that await him may answer his questions about the origins of his people…
A microscopic adventure
Together with the small skins picked up along the way, Milo embarks on an amazing adventure. His goal is to get his hands on the 5 things needed to build the machine that will most likely bring him back to his planet. A more difficult search than if you are only a few centimeters tall. Fortunately, Milo can rely on his new little companions with unique abilities. There are 5 types of tinykins, each with their own abilities. The first ones we encounter are the purple tinykins, who can be called “porters” because they are the only ones who can lift and carry things. Then quickly, we meet the red specimens with particular explosive, practical to destroy obstacles. Using tinykins is easy to do by pointing at the object we want them to interact with. The selection of the type of tinykins to use is automatically made according to the type of the target object, a welcome mechanism that makes the action smoother.
Tinykin is a puzzle-oriented 3D platform game. In this mix, tinykins are designed to be our only development tool. With each new problem situation a new type of tinykin is introduced that provides a solution. Milo can move quickly on his surfboard, and even hover in a bubble, his great movement is useless without his sidekicks. They are the ones who unblock situations by interacting with the environment.
To get the things he craves, Milo has to complete many quests, pretexts of mini-puzzles, with insects that have taken over the house and hold those things. Help them organize a big party, following a cooking recipe, the requests are many and crazy. As we progress, the puzzles will become richer (without anything too complex), requiring synergies between the different types of tinykins that we will use.
Finally, the Pikmin-like gameplay combined with platforming and puzzles works perfectly and constitutes an original reimagining of the genre. The variety of game sequences and their constant change is appreciated. And it must be said that it is very satisfying to put all our little animals in place and then only have to think about the outcome of the operations.
A wonderful exploration
Exploration is at the heart of Tinykin. Milo’s adventure will lead him to discover different rooms in the house. It is designed as several open levels with puzzles to solve and side quests. Different tribes of different insects live in each of the rooms, it’s a whole microcosm developed there! A very careful job has been done here to make everything look the same. It’s also fun to see dung beetles marveling at the cleanliness of the bathroom and revolutionary worker ants. It is a real pleasure to discover the universe imagined by the Splashteam. An almost childlike feeling accompanies these discoveries, a kind of wonder to discover the world from another perspective and above all to live an adventure within this small society. A feeling that reminds us of other works with small protagonists such as Toys Story, Arrietty: The Little World of Pilferers or It Takes Two, and that alone is an important motivation to explore every corner of the game .
The immersion and connectedness of everything in this small world is reinforced by an excellent narration. The characters and the dialogues are full of humor, many cultural references (video games, cinema, history, politics… Anything!). The secondary quests, distributed here and there in the levels, make us get things (called “souvenirs”) belonging to Ardwin, thus detailing the scenario and improving the lore. For the most observant players, Tinykin has powerful storytelling power that will keep them entertained. These narrative elements form several points of interest that push the player to explore every corner of the house to uncover every secret. Overall, 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 is very good. A scalable audio track (that fits the action) is a good idea.
All of Tinykin’s game design choices serve exploration. This is especially evident in the way Milo’s actions are thought of. The level is wide, 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 that are everywhere. As a carrot that inspires us to explore, pollen to collect like Mario coins are scattered throughout the level. An effort that will be rewarded with an increase in the amount of time that Milo can fly in his soap bubble, enough to reach areas that are more difficult to access and explore. Finally, a strong choice of Tinykin that shows the importance given to exploration is the absence of confrontations. A loss that has the advantage of not “cutting” the player in his exploration and that never misses a successful formula.
- “Pikmin gameplay” is perfectly suited to platform and puzzle-games.
- The joy of exploration and discovery.
- A fascinating microscopic world.
- The humor of the characters and dialogues.
- A well-crafted narrative.
- We didn’t get bored for a single second in 6-7 hours of playing.
- Due to the considerable size of the levels, we regret not being able to “mark” the 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 has successfully visited “Pikmin-like” by successfully adapting it to a platform game with puzzle-game tendencies. A true invitation to explore, one can only be drawn into the amazing microscopic universe envisioned by the Splashteam. Generous, full of details, full of laughter, the Tinykin adventure will appeal to young and old alike. We want more!
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