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Gameplay

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Genre: Action
Min OS X: 10.5


Tiny & Big In GrandPa's Leftovers
August 29, 2012 | Ted Bade
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Who's That Pale Guy?

Requirements:

Mac OS X: 10.5 | CPU: Intel Core Duo | RAM: 2 GB | HD Space: 1.5 GB | Graphics: ATI Radeon 2400 or better / NVIDIA 8600M or better | Other: 3 button mouse or Xbox 360 controller recommended

Review:

Tiny & Big: Episode 1 (GrandPa's Leftovers) from CrimsonCow is one of the more bizarre, yet interesting and fun, games I have played recently. It is essentially a “physics” game in that you need to push, pull and cut objects that block your way as you progress through the game. The puzzles all involve moving through a world making a path using the objects around you, all the while, avoiding flying rocks that could crush you.

In this cartoon adventure you play the part of Tiny and are opposed by a relative named “Big”. Your common grandfather has left and passed along an item that gives the wearer magic abilities. The game refers to this object as pants. Somehow, Big has managed to steal them and Tiny is chasing after him to get them back. Big seems to be quite the jerk and not only teases Tiny, but has a habit of tossing rocks and other large objects at Tiny. All the while Tiny needs to move through the spaces of the levels to get to Big.

Tiny can run and hop pretty well, but a lot of objects are way too tall to hop onto or over. Luckily, Tiny is equipped with a laser gun that cuts most of the solid objects in this world. He is also pretty strong and can push or pull (using his grapple hook) objects of just about any size. He also has a rocket gun that puts a small engine on an object, then can be used to whisk it far away.

Objects in this world are generally rectangular solids. Many are longer rectangular solids, which are great to make ramps out of by slicing the object into two triangular solid objects. Once a ramp is made, and the unused part of it removed, it can be moved into a position to allow Tiny to walk up and onto whatever is needed. Ramps are the easiest challenge. A more difficult challenge is moving longer solid objects into a position to allow you to cross a wide gap. The issue is that, if you put too much of the object’s weight into open space, it will fall and no longer be available to use.

Cutting objects with the laser gun is easy. The challenge here is to get the angle right as well as being sure you don’t accidentally cut some object behind it, making it more difficult or even impossible to continue. It’s also a good idea to avoid cutting things so they fall on top of Tiny! Another challenge is not falling. Many of the paths can be narrow, and a wrong step, or cutting the floor underneath can cause Tiny to fall and die. Almost all of the areas have an edge that is high above the ground. It’s a great view, but there is nothing stopping you from falling. Sadly, the grapple hook doesn’t work to pull you back up or to break your fall.

In many of the levels your nemesis, Big, will be tossing rocks at you. There are generally two things you can do. First is to dodge them, provided you have the space to move around, or if you are lucky, hide behind an object that won’t be pushed on top of you when the rocks hit. The other option is to use your laser to cut the oncoming rock into two pieces. Generally, if you do this, neither piece will hit you. Sometimes the game forces you to do one or the other of these actions in order to progress (Of course, a third option is to get hit, but this just ends the sequence and you have to start again!)

Death is not a real problem. When Tiny dies, you can choose to start again. The game restarts at a point before you were killed. Usually this location is a few to several steps behind where Tiny was defeated.

The scenery in this game is rather blocky and basic, but interesting and well done all the same. The world of this game reminds me of a desert area. Lots of rocks, sand, and no plants. Little prairie animals pop up out of holes that pepper the ground in some areas. The sky is a bleak monotone. Yet, it all works to make the game unique and interesting.

Rather then a audio voice track, the speaking members in Tiny & Big communicate using squeaks and other sounds. Text bubbles provide the information of the communication. Since this game doesn’t have an active background environment, the background sounds all relate to the chopping, cutting, and tossing of the rocks, as well as a few others like the chirruping of the prairie animals.

The game’s music track is interesting. First of all it consists of a variety of European “indie” music tracks. The titles selected blend well with the game’s mystique. But rather then simply providing the music, the player needs to find audio tapes as he moves through the environments. Once a tape is found, that particular title is added to those that can be listened to. You can select a particular tape or move to the next one any time. Controls are provided to let you select a particular track and to ski along to another.

I enjoy the fact that Tiny & Big rewards a player for investigating the environment. In addition to the music you find, there are other items that can be found if you search a bit. One such is collecting “boring rocks”. Truly a rather unusual task, but what the hey! There are some other special items you might find as well. Some are slightly off the beaten path, while others take a bit of searching. Nothing related to finishing the game, but still, I like exploration.

After each section you get scored on what you did. This includes how many of the rocks and music tapes you collected (of the total available to find). You also get scored on the number of cuts and deaths as well as how long it took for you to complete the level. If you enjoy the game, this provides a goal to return to a level and see if you can beat your best.

The game saves at undeclared checkpoints. It can be frustrating to spend a bit of time playing, quit for some real world reason, then return to have to do the entire section over again. The only redeeming factor is that you are familiar with the level, and will more than likely move through quickly.

Overall, I enjoyed this charming game. It is a relatively quick play. If you stick with just the adventure, it might take only a few hours to complete. If you poke around a bit, it will take longer. The challenges aren’t really hard, but can take a bit of trial and error to get the best solution. It was enjoyable enough that I looked forward to getting back to playing. If you like a physics based game, this one is definitely one to look at.

Pros:
• Fun gameplay
• Interesting music
• Intriguing puzzles

Cons:
• Checkpoints can be far between
• Quitting the game before completing an area often returns the payer to the beginning of that level when returning



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