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Sometimes I play video games on camera, other times I play them off.. I am an enigma

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What's the Greatest Video Game: Tinykin

This is an ongoing list where I attempt to do the following: Play, Complete, and Rank every video game in the known universe in order to finally answer the age old question "What is the greatest game of all time?" For previous entries find the links on the attached spreadsheet.

How did I do?

CategoryCompletion level
Hours played<10
100% levelsAll but 1
Races won2 (sad face)
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I am hearing a lot of talk about Pikmin 4 these days, so I should throw my thoughts in to the ring… but I haven’t played Pikmin, so instead lets talk about Tinykin. I think it’s crazy that Tinykin is a year old already, because gun to my head I would have told you that it came out this year, but that could be how the passage of time works for me now. Not that anything I have to say about the game is particularly timely, so no big deal there.

In Tinykin you play the role of a scientist/explorer who gets sucked up into a new dimension and must figure out a way to get home. When you come to, you are in what appears to be an abandoned house that is inhabited by tinykins, but for the purpose of the story they might as well be aliens. You meet what would be an elder, who thinks he has a way to send you back home, but you need to gather certain items that will allow him to complete his invention. The story is ok, but it is mainly a backdrop in order to get you to the main draw of the game, collecting.

See that abandoned house that you are in, is doing the “tiny person – big world” style that we all love from Pikmin and those Mario levels. Each room in the house is a different level, but since we are playing with scale, each level is jam packed to explore and find stuff in. Yes, each level will have one of the main components for the invention in it, but they all require you to actually work for it, which translates into accomplishing some minor task that will result in the characters giving up the item. That might involve you getting a Stereo to work, or throwing the perfect party, but what it really involves is solving a bunch of smaller puzzles that will add up to that big one. For instance getting that Stereo to work might involve finding and bringing batteries back to it, or connecting it to a power outlet. Now how do you solve these issues, you ask? Well with your Tinykin friends. In each level, you will come across pods that contain Tinykins who depending on their abilities can either be used to carry things, run an electric current to something, explode, or create a makeshift ladder for you to climb. These tinykin are everywhere and you will need a set amount in order to accomplish each goal. Those batteries might require 10 purple Tinykin in order to lift and carry the batteries back to the stereo. That obstacle in the distance might require 20 Red ones to blow it up, and so on. You won’t start any level with these amounts, so you will need to explore each level in order to gather the necessary Tinykin in order to complete each level.

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Of course while you are out and about, there are other things to collect that will either help you during your adventure or are just regular old collectables to stare at in a vault. Relics, chunks of Nectar, Optional mission items, costumes, are all to be found in the level (well costumes are earned from winning races, but I digress). Since these numbers appear right on the map screen, you can see how many of each category you have collected in said level. This is really what the game is, the drive to collect everything in these levels. To be clear, you can beat these levels in the game sense by not 100% everything, and you are not punished if you are missing a Tinykin, or piece of Nectar as you will eventually be driven batty because you are missing 5-10 items in a whole map that you swear you have looked everywhere for. However, the game is short, and fairly easy to complete if you are just looking to mainline the missions, but I think that might miss the point. If we go back to an early example about getting a stereo working, you might only need 10 purple ones to lift the batteries, and the level might actually have 20-30 purple tinykins to find, so you can beat the game with doing 50% or even less if you are looking to mainline it.

A perfectly normal way to play the game, but I would suggest that you are missing some of the charm. This game is a pleasure to look at, has a very cozy game feel, and some of the joy is exploring these levels and seeing what was created in them. In the bathroom you will see a toilet paper tower that you can climb. In a kid’s room there are hanging planets from the ceiling, that with skill you can jump on and navigate high above the map. There might not be a giant reward for checking all these boxes outside of achievements (in-game or external), but inhabiting the world and explore all the nooks and crannies are primarily what the joy is. If you don’t vibe with collecting or the cozy vibes, then you can just give this game a full pass.

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Gameplay wise you don’t actually control any of the Tinykins you come across. Simply bumping into their pods will cause them to follow you for the entire level, but you will only control your little explorer through the worlds. Outside of moving and jumping, you can do a little float that will allow you to navigate the world easier, which can be expanded in each level if you fulfill a quest from the nectar merchant, and use a soap board to slide around shortcuts. While there is no combat in the game, you can still die from falling from too high of an area or wading into water for too long. Death is meaningless, as you instantly respawn prior to your fall or water walk, with all the same Tinykin in tow. Much like another game, you do have to physically throw your Tinykin at an object to have them complete an action, as they do not have a mind of their own. While this can occasionally be frustrating when setting up the electric current Tinykins, overall this process is pretty painless.

I really enjoyed Tinykin, but I really don’t have much else to say about the game. Each level was a joy to discover, and I developed my own process in order to make sure I was combing through every area to maximize my collection in each area. There is always way more Tinykins in a level then uses for them and you can’ work yourself into a situation where you soft lock anything, you just might have to come back to something later. The game is short and cutesy and that just might not be everyone’s vibe, but I can attest that this will pass the partner and kid test as it is wholesome as hell. I didn’t end up 100% the game, because in a single level I was missing 2 pieces of nectar and I swear I looked through the whole level 5 or more times, but outside of looking at a guide for every single piece of nectar in a level (there are hundreds) and retracing my steps, I’ll just let it go. You can unlock races that will grant you costumes, but I will admit they are not easy (as compared to the rest of the game) as it requires you to really prioritize navigational speed, when you haven’t thought about that for the rest of your playthrough. I only ended up getting the first unlockable costume and skipping the rest.

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One thing that I would love someone to explain to me is the ending of this game, because despite paying attention, I must have missed something. I won’t say any spoilers here, but in the last level you presumably learn why the house is abandoned or empty, but how you fit into that story I am not as clear. Ultimately you return to normal size and your own dimension, but I couldn’t tell if I was supposed to ruminate on how what you have done changed the other dimension, or if it is all nonsense and I’m just overthinking it. Anyway, Tinykin is great, not the greatest game of all time, but a great cozy game to play while you await the release of Pikmin 4…. Wait, That game came out already!? For the love of Gorp!

Is this the greatest game of all time?: No

Where does it rank: Sometimes I feel if I don't drone on and on about the game, perhaps it doesn't give the impression of how much I like the game, but I need to stress that I really do like Tinykin. Tinykin is a great cozy game that you play to wind down from a day or put in front of the kids so that they can watch you (or play themselves). Its not exceptionally deep, and its not hard, but it can still be fun to just wander around a big room and collect things while solving the most basic of puzzles. It's not the greatest game of all time, but it's a very fun playthrough. I have it ranked as the 59th Greatest Game of All Time, out of 170 total games. It sits between Jade Empire (60th) and Golf Story (58th).

Anyone looking for it: here is the link to the list and more if you are interested in following along with me (this is not a self promotion).Here. I added links on the spreadsheet for quick navigation. Now if you missed a blog of a game you want to read about, you can get to it quickly, rather than having to scroll through my previous blogs wondering when it came up.

Thanks for listening

Future games coming up 1) Theatre of Sorrow 2) The Dig 3) Vampire Survivors

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