Munich-based Mimimi Productions attempts to deliver an all-ages platforming adventure with the bright, cartoonish world of The Last Tinker: City of Colors. Our early access preview of the game gave us a chance to play through the tutorial level and see if the Unity-based platformer brings anything new to the genre. With the combination of a ridiculous amount of color and some challenging puzzles to solve, there was plenty to keep us busy throughout the short preview.
The most consistently entertaining aspect of the content we had access to was the radiant, beautiful world. The game has a strong theme of colors and the art team really ran with that in the right direction. Although we don’t get a chance to explore any of the mono-colored districts in the tutorial level, we can only hope that they are as immersive and beautiful as what we see in the main character’s multicolor hometown.
The controls felt a bit strange at first, but we eventually came around to them. What really took us by surprise (and was difficult to adjust to) was that the game’s platforming puzzles operated similar to the Assassin’s Creed free running system. Rather than the challenge coming from actually performing a series of jumps over adorable gaps (like the span between friendly octopus tentacles), players just need to point themselves in the right direction and the leap will be made for them.
The difficulty comes from looking around and figuring out which path to take, rather than making precise leaps. The system feels a little frustrating at first, but when a series of jumps and vine-climbs are strung together to reach a new platform, it’s actually really rewarding. When it works, it’s incredibly fluid, but if you fail to line a jump up right, it’ll punish you by falling instead of jumping – and that can be frustrating.
Although it incredibly fun to search for paths to out of reach platforms, the lack of mobility freedom does feel like a serious restraint. Koru, the game’s monkey protagonist, is unable to freely leap around the level. Jumps can only be made at predetermined points, where the game wants the player to cross certain gaps. Being landlocked ended up leaving us disappointed multiple times throughout the starting level.
Once all the basic mechanics are established, the game introduces Koru’s companion, Tap. The floating sheep can be called upon at any point in time Koru in the right direction and leave a trail of rainbow confetti to the next point of interest. The bright trails feel way more interesting than a mini-map and fit right in with the rest of the world.
In addition to climbing and jumping, Koru can also throw some punches. The combat system is fairly simple, but does offer some opportunities to string together combos. Although taking out enemy lizards isn’t all that exciting, breaking open crates and barrels to claim health orbs and money is a lot of fun. It gives the game a bit of a classic Zelda feel, which works really well in the kid-friendly atmosphere.
Although the trailers and opening cinematic promise the chance to bring diversity back to the three divided monocolor cities, the preview does not offer much of an opportunity to explore that skill of Koru’s. The game isn’t without its flaws, but we’re still looking forward to seeing what the the rest of the content has to offer when The Last Tinker is released next week.
The Last Tinker: City of Colors releases May 12 via Steam for Linux, Mac, and PC.
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