Monday, 14 April 2014

The Last Tinker: City of Colors preview

The Last Tinker: City of Colors is the latest game from Munich based developers Mimimi Productions. With their previous titles all coming to iOS devices, this will be their first game to see a PC and console release. As the name suggests, colour is a hugely important aspect of the game, and it's a massively vibrant game. But does the colourful palette outshine the gameplay? Read the full preview below to find out!

The first thing you immediately notice when playing the game is the massive emphasis on colour. The game world is absolutely teeming with it, and it's one of the most beautiful in-game environments in recent years. The textures and models might not be of the highest possible quality, but it fits incredibly well with the art style, and makes for a very good looking game.

You play as Koru, and it's up to you to save this colourful world

It doesn't just stop with the aesthetics. The lore behind the game is also based heavily around colour, art and design. In the world of Tinker, things are created with paper, glue, and paint. But not everything is well here, and it is up to Koru, a young ape-boy, to save the world by restoring properties to the colours. Different colours possess different emotions, and characters in the world represent these well. Red characters are much more aggressive for instance. This even makes up a large part of the combat system as well, with different moves being attributed to different colours.

The preview only briefly touches on the combat however, but what is shown is a solid yet simple system. It is fairly reminiscent of the Batman Arkham series, with enemies surrounding you for you to beat on, with warnings of incoming attacks flashing up above enemies. You can choose to dodge, or break their attack with one of your own. At least in the early parts of the game, the fighting is a bit too easy, and it's rare the an enemy will actually land an attack on you.

Even the combat is colour-based, with different colours linked to different attacks

Outside of combat, the game excels in its movement around the world. For the most part, it acts like a platformer, with basic parkour style jumps done in a similar style to Assassin's Creed (ie, hold down a button and run at the edge). Aside from that, there are some instances where you must grind along a rail, avoid obstacles, and hop between multiple rails. While there is no map to help with navigation, you have a partner named Tap, who at the click of a button will show you where you need to head. While the world is beautiful, the areas can blend into each other a lot, making it easy to get lost, so this is often needed.

There are also many things to interact with in the environment. Pretty much everyone in the world has something to say, which is displayed in a cardboard looking speech bubble. This is a nice idea, but it can be frustrating having to change camera angle just to view what they are saying. Like most platformers, there are plenty of boxes to break, and will yield either health or currency. One part of the preview sees you controlling an NPC in the world by whistling, with the character being drawn to your current location. This is used for solving puzzles, but is only briefly touched upon. This will likely be a much bigger part of the full game.

The open environments are bursting with colour and character

On PC, the keyboard controls can be a bit awkward at first, especially when it comes to the camera. However, it features full controller support, and it feels like it was designed with this in mind. While it's by no means vital that it is played this way, it definitely feels like the primary method that the developers had in mind. 

Although the preview is short (around 30-45 minutes), it is certainly hinting at a great game. The world is fantastic, the controls are fluid, and the characters' interactions with each others can be amusing. It is certainly a game to keep an eye on ahead of its release this summer.

by Mike Aitchison

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