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Tuesday, May 17, 2022

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Tinykin has some sweet insect designs, especially if you dig Paper Mario

A fresh look at Splashteam’s adventure platformer

Sometimes, you hear about a game, take a look, come away feeling positive, and put a pin in it. That’s where I was at with Tinykin, a critter-flinging insect adventure from Splashteam and TinyBuild that’s building off some of my favorite Nintendo titles — Pikmin and Paper Mario — in different ways. If you’ve heard of Tinykin before, you’ll get where I’m coming from here; if not, this latest story trailer is the perfect jumping-off point. It’s a polished-up package that’s selling me on a game I thought I was already plenty sold on.

Let co-directors Marie Marquet and Romain Claude paint a pint-sized picture:

As they explain in the gameplay-filled trailer, Tinykin is a journey about a shrunken boy, Milo, in a strange land of insects. Unlike Obsidian’s Grounded, though, this isn’t a surprisingly scary survival outing — it’s a more laid-back exploration-platformer vibe.

And those insect designs! They look so crisp and creative. Let’s run through a few.

*Solaria*, huh? I already want to team up with this hero

A familiar-looking insect hero named Solaria

Don’t be alarmed, but there are religious dragonflies

Religion-embracing dragonflies

And shifty-looking postal workers

Weary postal worker insects in Tinykin

Dung beetles can be cuties, too

Dung beetles

Someone needs to keep the wine flowing

Sikaru the winemaker

The orchid mantis aesthetic is top-notch

Insects inspired by the orchid mantis in Tinykin

Even if the visuals were a bit lacking, I’d be pretty into this basic concept of roaming an unfamiliar land while strategically bossing around little pipsqueaks to carve a path forward and return home. But the clean 2D meets detailed enough 3D art direction makes a strong impression. In the tireless war for players’ attention, we’re at a point where good gameplay and good art aren’t enough on their own in so many cases, so it’s nice to see this pairing in a less commonly seen sub-genre. (Here’s to you too, Wild at Heart.)

This isn’t the first or last we’ve heard from Tinykin, but I thought it was worth a refresh.

For more, circle back on the prior gameplay trailer. Splashteam is aiming to release Tinykin in summer 2022 for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation, Xbox, and PC.

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