by Ingvi Snædal
previewed on PC
Hands on with The Last Tinker
The Last Tinker: City of Color is a very interesting third-person adventure game currently in development at Mimimi Productions, a German independent developer (and they spell ‘colour’ in US English, eh? -Ed). The game features some interesting characters, a vivid colour palette and some delightfully 'handmade' looking aesthetics. It is obviously aimed at the younger generation, but there is are definitely aspects that spark memories of some of the games I grew up with, despite being an old man at this point (the correct term is 'infirm' - Ed).
The first thought I had when the game launched and I finally got to play around with it was: “Wow, this reminds me of Crash Bandicoot,” but more so aesthetically than gameplay-wise. Philosophically, it's more reminiscent of Little Big Planet, just without all the user-generated content. Despite its obvious spiritual influences, however, the game manages to create an experience that's wholly its own. That is, in the few levels we got try our hands at.
Monkeys don’t float
The story takes place in a world made up of cardboard, paint and glue, which is where the game's spiritual connection with LBP comes along. What made me connect it with my old friend Crash is the way the game instilled within me a delightful nostalgic tinge. Perhaps it was the tropical setting and the bright colours, but whatever it was, I was suddenly sitting on the floor in front of my parents' 24” tube holding a PlayStation controller. Figuratively, of course. However, the game is not ready yet and as such, a few things were a bit rough around the edges, such as controller support, but as the game will feature full support upon release, that is something that no one should worry about.
The game's story is centred around a multicoloured boy named Koru who grew up in the slums of Color City, a place that is divided into colour sectors with a marketplace connecting them, representing one of the few places in the city where the different colours and the creatures who represent them interact. You soon discover that each colour represents certain personality traits, which will come into play later in the game. As Koru, you'll have to run, jump, fight, smash and slide your way though beautiful landscapes as you solve puzzles, discover hidden treasures and help your divided community heal. Just don't try to swim. Monkey boys can't swim. They don't even float. Look it up.
Potential for an Instant Hit
Even at this state in its development, the game looks very thought through and, despite its crude looking visuals, the fact that it is supposed to be a handmade world makes the overall aesthetic quality far outweigh any concerns about superficialities like poly count or number of animations. The dialogue all takes place on painted cardboard cut-outs that appear above the characters' heads as they mumble something indecipherable, presumably in their own language. As each and every character is an animal, this does not take anything away from the game.
All in all, the game is an indie game developed by a small studio and budget concerns must have played a role, but as with so many other things, it's not what or how much you have, it's about how well you use it. This game creatively and imaginatively explains away any criticism I could have made regarding its visual finesse and lack of production values in the audio department. At its current state, the game has the potential to be an instant hit with the younger generation and I look forward to seeing the end product upon release.