We’ve been looking forward to Tinykin ever since we previewed it back in February of this year. Turns out we were right to be excited, because this adventure-platformer is nothing but a delight.
From developer Splashteam and publisher TinyBuild, Tinykin casts you as Milo, a teeny, tiny spaceman, seemingly crash-landed on Earth. Well, a very specific part of Earth: inside someone’s house. A normal-sized home is a huge, unexplored world to Milo: a living room is a thriving metropolis, and a child’s bedroom becomes a giant theme park filled with wonders.
Each level of Tinykin focuses on one area of the house. The living room, hallway, kitchen, bedroom and bathroom all pose gargantuan obstacles to Milo, but thankfully he’s got a few tricks up his sleeve to help him get around. In terms of traversal, Milo can use soap bubbles to glide, a skill that you can upgrade as you progress through the game. He can speedily travel along flat surfaces on his soapboard, too, which can also zoom up or down cables, allowing him to quickly get from one side of an environment to another. Providing he’s unlocked the cable first, of course.
But the real joy of Tinykin is the titular tinykin themselves: an army of tiny, multi-functional creatures that Milo can control and command. Taking cues from the likes of the Pikmin series, each colour of tinykin has a special ability. To begin with, you’re introduced to pink and red tinykin: pink can lift heavy objects, while red explode when they’re thrown. Later on, you’ll come across tinykin that you can stack to reach greater heights, electrically-charged tinykin, and tinykin can that can be used to create ramps. All endlessly useful – and a joy to control.
Happily, there are no menus to fumble through to select the right type of tinykin for the job. Simply aim at what you need, and the correct tinykin (providing you have them under your control) will automatically be selected. Aim at an item that needs lifting, for example, and pink tinykin will be fired in that direction. And if an item needs exploding? Red ones are automatically on the job. Other skills, like green, stackable tinykin, can be commanded at will with the push of the right trigger button. It’s effortlessly simple and free of any frustrations. And so, there’s nothing finer than having an army of 50+ tinykin marching around after you. Oh, and you should put your controller down for a minute or two: leave the game idle and they’ll all fall asleep around you. Adorable.
Of course, the tinykin wouldn’t be much use unless the world that you’re exploring is designed to make use of them. Indeed, every level of Tinykin is packed with nooks and crannies to explore, things to be blown up, items that need to be lifted and moved, electrical outlets that need connecting up, and more. There’s always a main task at hand, which usually involves finding a number of key items and puzzling your way around the environment. But away from that, it’s worth spending time exploring, because there are secrets and additional missions abound.
For whatever reason, we always find exploring an overgrown world a joy. Racing around Yo Sushi tabletops in Table Top Racing: World Tour makes us grin from ear to ear; traversing It Takes Two‘s giant house is wonderful, and surviving an overgrown garden in Grounded is a thrill. And so Tinykin isn’t exactly doing anything original, but it does it so, so well that it hardly matters. The house here has been wonderfully designed, brought to life by colonies of insects (they’re not creepy, honest) living their lives there. Tiny bedrooms have been made from tins in a kitchen cupboard, and beach parties are being held in the bathtub.
Gameplay below is based on the preview build of the game (but is largely representative of the opening chapter of the full game).
This is the sort of game that’s impossible to play without a smile on your face. Whether you’re exploring under a dusty sofa, navigating your way around lost items and dust bunnies, or using your tinykin to open a drawer to have a nosey inside, poking around the corners of the giant house you find yourself in never gets boring. It’s quirky from start to finish, and it makes every element of Tinykin an absolute pleasure to take in. In fact, the only downside to the whole experience is its length: we were done with Tinykin and all of its side content in just under seven hours. We could have gladly spent a dozen more in its folds.
It helps that it looks so nice, too. Playing on PS5 for review, we found Tinykin beautifully sharp with not a graphical glitch in sight. Its art style is rather unique, with 2D cartoon character models set upon a realistic 3D world. It works, though, and Milo, the tinykin, and the friends they come to meet all look absolutely wonderful.
No matter who you are, we challenge you to play Tinykin without a stupid grin on your face from start to finish. This is an utterly wholesome adventure game, packed with charm, clever ideas, puzzles and exploration. Heck, it even has a narrative twist to keep you on your toes. There’s so much to love here – we’re just sad it had to come to an end. Splashteam has absolutely blown it out of the teeny, tiny park, and we’d love more adventures with Milo in the future.