Tinykin, developed by Splashteam and published by tinyBuild, is an ant-sized 3D collectathon platformer that packs a vibrant punch five times its own body weight.
I played as Milodane, a human archaeologist from the planet Aegis, who, in the search for the origins of human life, accidentally teleported to a dystopian Earth stuck in the year 1991. Shrunken down, I explored the bizarrely arranged rooms in search of the items necessary to return me to my home planet. With a moth named Ridmi as my guide, I harnessed the powers of the different creatures called tinykin. Each one was properly explained with an accompanying tutorial; I admired the short animations for each tinykin that conveyed their utility visually.
Pink tinykin moved objects, red exploded things, green formed ladders, blue redirected electricity, and yellow constructed bridges. Although simplistic in gameplay, the sociopolitical misadventures I got into with my eager companions were consistently amusing. I needed to collect the correct amount of tinykin to put a CD into a stereo for religious bugs in the living room, start a bubble bath party in the bathroom for the hedonistic dwellers, and seize the means of cake production in the kitchen among other things. Collecting pollen for the brewery to upgrade my hover bubble and going on side missions to collect artifacts for the curator added more items to the pick-up bonanza; it also gave hazy insight into the inventor, revered as a deity, responsible for the state of the planet.
Without giving too much away, there was a solid nugget of storytelling that went beyond what the advertising had led me to believe. The exaggeration of the mundane in this domestic wonderland kept my imagination racing from start to finish. Not only did I adore a new perspective of the commonplace, but I loved the strange occurrences in an already odd world. Shieldbugs hearing a mysterious voice, jewel thieves letting me in on heists, and a search for the savior compounded the bizarreness of it all. The visuals and music always delivered the proper tone to seamlessly blend the mismatched themes from a laundry room rave to a bedroom safari. Additional music variations in each area gave a real sense of a living atmosphere, whether I found myself in a mantis church, a secret alien lab, or a guitar on the ground.
Locomotion in Tinykin was as rudimentary as normal running and a jump could be, but the bubble glider, soap skateboard, and ladder tinykins elevated and maintained a joyful flow of movement between clusters of collectables. The items were precisely placed in a well-engineered and mindful manner that served me several hours of mindless indulgence. There was no risk of executive overload or passing over objectives, as I could pick any spot on the floor to begin my sweep and be subtly led throughout the entire area by the end of it. The platforming had no need for precision and the puzzles essentially solved themselves with enough tinykin, so the playful pacing never let up as I bounded between areas — my mother would disown me if she witnessed the gusto with which I readied myself to clean out each room.
Tinykin is available August 30 on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation, Xbox, and PC for $24.99 with a 10% launch discount.
Watch the Review in 3 Minutes for Tinykin.