bhlaab's Tiny and Big: Grandpa's Leftovers (PC) review

Not as interesting as the Quick Look makes it seem!

I saw the Quick Look for this game and got hype for it immediately, but that video sells the idealized version of the game, not the real thing.

For the most part this is NOT a sandbox "make your own path" game. In parts it can become that, but it's certainly not representative of the majority of your time spent. In fact, it's quite easy to put the game into an "unwinnable" state, at which point you have to hit the 'Return to Last Checkpoint' button and the game sends you back, usually a little bit too far and facing in the wrong direction.

Instead, you'll mostly be running across a linear path doing the same small handful of moves to cross gaps or get up onto ledges. Pull a long block across a gap to make a bridge. Cut a slab at a diagonal angle to jump on it. Rinse, repeat. It doesn't help that doing these actions is oddly difficult. Yanking a block with your grapple puts it more at the mercy of gravity than your keyboard commands, and pushing a a long block on one end will not cause any sort of rotation.

Much of the game is spent jumping over bottomless pits or walking across thin platforms carved out by your own clumsy hands. Your jumps are too wonky and your movement too touchy for this to work well, so deaths come quick and often. It doesn't help that your guy is super fragile-- if a rock falls on him he's toast. If he falls from a medium-sized height, he's toast. Not the best system for a game about cutting apart rocks and climbing up and down mountains. And then, of course, it's back to a checkpoint.

Graphically it's pretty alright. It reminds me a bit of stuff like Earthworm Jim and Psychonauts, and the music is sort of Neverhood-esque. I'm just glad it's not faux-retro pixel art and chiptunes to be honest. These minor charms are buried underneath a bunch of monkey cheese shit about underpants, anyway.

Bottom line is I really wanted this game to be fun! It seems like a cool idea but it doesn't deliver the kind of outlet for creative thought that it promises. What it offers instead gets pretty old even before the game's short ~2hr lifespan is already exhausted. I hope they make a sequel where they design around the player's limitless imagination instead of trying to design in a manner that inhibits it.


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