Time to Chill with Tinykin

Video games are full of epic memorable moments. When thinking back on some of these epic moments, big boss fights come to mind, along with that perfectly-executed kill streak, a buzzer beater to take the lead in the final seconds of a game, a grotesque execution on a fellow foe, and so many more action-packed sequences.

It’s rare to think of some of the more relaxing and wholesome adventure games as epic, even though they are just as important. You need balance in your gaming habits. For every zombie-thrashing murder fest you play, you also need some sort of simple puzzle game or a nice collect-a-thon experience.

This week, I finally completed the relaxing adventure game, Tinykin.

A note from the developer (Splashteam) and Publisher (TinyBuild):

Solve Earth‘s Biggest Mystery!

It’s the far future and Milo has re-discovered Earth!
He’d go down in history, but as he lands on the planet he encounters a problem… 

He’s as small as a penny.
And everybody’s gone.
And it’s still the ’90s.

Get Big And Go Home!

Explore a giant house as a tiny astronaut, and meet the society of insects that built a sprawling city inside! 
Discover the stadium in the bath, revive the nightclub inside the couch, and win big at the casino under the bed!
Milo can jump, hover and skateboard, but the true hook is the mysterious tinykin!
Hundreds of alien creatures with special powers to become ladders, build bridges,
carry large objects, activate machines and explode!

Tinykin was a very welcomed and much needed break from some of the more stressful, fast-paced games I had been playing. The pacing is as slow or quick as you need it to be. As Milo, you get to explore each room in this large house at your own leisure. There is no set order on how to collect the items (other than a few items that may help find the next one), and once you find the main objective of the room needed to fix your ship you are able to move on or continue searching.

Some games don’t do a great job of separating the different quests and goals. I enjoy a game like Tinykin that tells you upfront: This is what you need to do [Main Quest], but you may also do some of this, if you wish [Side Quests]. I’ve jumped into many games thinking, Let’s get that 100%, before completing the first “main goal” and deciding to mainline the game instead. I get too excited at the beginning of my adventure.

Art Style

I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of overlaying 2D hand-drawn animation over realistic 3D backgrounds. It’s sort of a 2D+3D style. This is possibly why I have watched the original Space Jam so many times (also Who Framed Roger Rabbit?).

The art of Tinykin is not exactly Space Jam, but it does remind me of that simple 2D character design layered on a 3D world. It’s mainly Milo and the tinykin creatures that are 2D, while everything and everyone else are in 3D. The character design is cute and reminds me of the cartoons I watched as a child in the 90s.

Whenever a new tinykin creature is revealed the game cuts to a fully-animated cutscene showcasing your new companion’s talent. Tinykin can explode boxes, lift and move objects, raise Milo, create ramps, and more. I’m glad that each room starts Milo off with no tinykin companions, because collecting this little round creatures is part of the fun in this game. Even when you already have a giant army of tinykin, finding a few more in a secret area is such a nice feeling.

Game Association

There’s a strange phenomenon that I like to call “Game Association,” as of today. This is when you have never played a specific game before, but still you compare it to other games based on what you think that game is. It happens with movies or shows all the time as well. Even though I haven’t seen The Wire, I still have compared shows to it saying, “I think it’s something like The Wire.”

When I began my Tinykin adventure, I immediately compared it to the Pikmin franchise in my brain, thinking it was a smaller version of that game. The funny part is that I have never played a Pikmin game. I have watched my friend play Pikmin 3 for less than an hour, but my only true comparison was the tinykin creatures to Olimar’s pikmin creatures — mainly because they both follow you around as a large, tiny crowd.

A few weeks ago, I noticed the Pikmin 3 demo was available on the Nintendo eShop, so I downloaded it to finally try this game out for myself. I really enjoyed what I have played of that demo so far — just a few minutes. I immediately noticed that although there are a few similarities, the two games are totally different. I can see that perhaps the developers at Splashteam were influenced by their love of Pikmin when creating these creatures.

Relaxing Plane Game

Back in September, I had a four hour plane trip to visit my friend in Minnesota — my first plane ride since October of 2019
(Thanks COVID).

Side Quest:
The week before leaving I had a mini-meltdown and almost convinced myself that
I needed to upgrade from my launch Nintendo Switch to the OLED model just for
this plane ride. The meltdown only lasted one day, but I was searching like crazy
for the Splatoon 3 OLED Switch. Luckily, I didn’t find it quick enough and dropped
the idea.

For every plane ride, I go through the same process. (1) I make sure to update all of my “current” Switch games. (2) I choose one or two new games that I plan to start or continue playing on the plane. (3) I spend most of the plane ride listening to music, podcasts, or watching a movie on my iPad. (4) In the final hour I turn on my Switch and instead of playing those “new” games, I go with something familiar, like The Binding of Isaac or some other game I have played for over 50 hours.

I don’t remember which specific games I had picked out for this plane ride, but once I started to play Tinykin on the plane (I was already about halfway into it by then), I could not stop. It’s also a nice game for if your neighbor looks over at your screen, they can’t be offended by these cute little tinykin creatures.

A relaxing game like this one just may be the perfect game to play on a plane. That or something familiar that you don’t have to learn or figure out (aka the games I normally default to on a plane ride).

Play or Skip?

With all that being said, should you play or skip this game? If you’re looking for something relaxing to play where you can spend your time searching for items, solving puzzles, and no one truly gets hurt then I would say sure Tinykin is a great game for you.

I’d call Tinykin the perfect “side game.” This is definitely a great wind down before bed game, or even while in bed. There’s some puzzle solving, but nothing too complicated. Tinykin is a silly, cute, and colorful little adventure. It also didn’t take very long to beat the game. If you want to find every single item it may take a bit longer.

According to my Nintendo Switch, it only took me about 10-15 hours to beat Tinykin, although my save file reports way more than that.

Tinykin is available on PC and consoles.

*myVGBC.com was given a review code for Tinykin by the publisher, some time ago, but we wanted to finish the whole game before posting about it.

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