by Jonathan Fortin
reviewed on PC
Hardcore Shroom Action
As well as running around punching innocent citizens - just because you can - you'll also spend a lot of time destroying barrels and boxes to collect gems. Gems can be used to purchase upgrades for your character, so it's always important to look for them. By the end of the game, you'll have splintered enough boxes to make Link blush. Players can also try to find secret floating brushes, which can be used to unlock concept art, as well as special game modes like Big Head Mode.
Many of the game's puzzles involve a pair of walking mushrooms named Biggs and Bomber. Biggs can be used to smash through cobwebs and stand on buttons, among other things. Bomber looks just like one of the minions from Despicable Me. He can blows things up, including Koru if you're not careful.
The mushrooms, unfortunately, can be a little frustrating to work with. Koru can call them to his location by whistling, but the mushrooms are hard of hearing, and to make them come over, you practically have to stand right next to them. At certain points of the game this can be very annoying and tedious.
Helps to have a gamepad
The Last Tinker seems made for a gamepad. The PC controls are perfectly functional, but they feel ill-fitting for the gameplay, with some rather strange choices. “Use” is f, of all things, and you hold down Space to run, which feels awkward with WASD. One would think Shift would be more appropriate, but Shift is used to whistle at the mushrooms, and since the mushrooms are so hard of hearing, you need to tap it over and over until your computer thinks you want to turn on Sticky Keys. You can't change the control scheme, either, which is a little baffling.
Koru automatically jumps when you're holding down the run button. At times this feels as though the platforming is on autopilot, but it smoothes out many jumping sequences considerably. Often Koru will leap across many small platforms in quick succession, such as the tentacles of a giant cephalapod. This would be quite annoying to do manually, so the system ends up suiting the game well.
Occasionally, the awkward PC controls will make it hard to stay alive, but death isn't really a big deal in The Last Tinker. Checkpoints are placed liberally throughout the game world, and dying won't take anything away from you other than time.
Strangeness and Charm
The graphics are as colorful as you'd expect given the subject matter, and for the most part they're beautiful and detailed without pushing the boundaries of hardware. Characters' expressions are cartoonish, but capture their intended emotions perfectly. The music is wonderful as well, ranging from cheerful acoustic tunes to haunting electronic rhythms. When the game needs to sell an emotional moment, the music does the heavy lifting and it more than delivers.
But what truly carries the game is the charm. There's a pervasive, endearing sense of humor, and it's very gratifying to see the world respond to your deeds. Koru's actions inspire the people of Colortown, helping them overcome their moods. The reds get control over their anger; the greens find their courage... it's beautiful to see. Even when the character development is sudden and heavy-handed, it remains moving, like a Pixar film.
Mimimi has a real triumph here. The Last Tinker: City of Colors is appropriate for kids but oodles of fun for adults as well. It's both a love letter to its inspirations, and a true successor to them. If you're at all interested in this game, be assured that it is more than worthy of your time.
Beautiful graphics and music, diverse gameplay, prevailing sense of humor
Doesn't save frequently enough; awkward PC controls; repetitive miniboss battles