Hello and welcome to the inaugural post in this soon to be favorite series of yours, Backlog Diaries! If you are reading this, it means I finally knocked something out of my backlog and then even took the time to write about it. So allow me to share with you my first selection, Tiny & Big: Grandpa’s Leftovers.
Tiny & Big was originally released on June 19, 2012, both developed and published by Black Pants Studio. It’s classified as a single-player platformer, and is currently available on PC, Linux, and OS X. My diary entry was based on my experience with the PC version.
Starting this game, I was expecting a rather wacky story with some odd characters that were full of personality. You play as Tiny who, along with the help of his trusty Radio, are on a mission to find his grandfather’s missing (under)pants. Trouble arises when you car crashes in a desert landscape scattering your gear everywhere. Insert a couple tutorial-esque obstacles and you discover Big has the pants, and you are going to have to chase him down.
The game has a comic/cell shaded/hand drawn look that suits it well. There are no major obstacles to face except for the landscape itself and the physics involved within it. Inside Tiny’s bag of tricks you have laser that will cut through objects, a grappling hook for pulling, and what I’ll call a rocket mine. Throw it to an object and ignite the thruster to send the item flying! In order to progress in each level, you will be slicing, pulling, pushing, manipulating the environment in all sorts of ways to get from point A to point B, unfortunately, that is the full experience. I will say that the music was fantastic, it just needs to change tracks a little more frequently.
What I initially thought to be a fun gameplay mechanic became rather repetitive and dull. It turns out you can only slice through so many columns in a row to build bridges to other sections of the world. Big frequently shows up to taunt our hero Tiny, which does add a little comic relief. These interludes provided a nice break to the game but were over far too quickly. Dodge some boulders, slice some boulders, rinse, and repeat. Black Pants Game Studio built this engine, Scape, themselves and this game really feels like an extended tech demo for it. Could it be that in four years time the idea of a physics sandbox just falls flat for a gamer of my interests? I found myself always wanting more and specifically during my progress in the fifth level, I couldn’t wait for it to end. This game would have really benefited from some sort of added gameplay to completely shake things up here. I don’t want to beat a dead horse here and I’m sure you get my point by now.
Even with the negatives this game had, I still found it to be an overall enjoyable experience. There are only 6 levels in total and I estimate by total playtime was under 3 hours for completion. If you want to track down the different music tracks or useless rocks scattered around each level, that will obviously add to it. For $10, you can easily do much worse, but I would say wait for it to drop down to $5 or under. On a scale of “trash it”, to “you have to play it”, this game is right in the middle.
Have you played Tiny & Big, have something you’d love me to try? Sound off in the comments!