The Last Tinker: City of Colors (Hands-On) (PC) Preview

By Javier Jimenez 12.03.2014

Review for The Last Tinker: City of Colors (Hands-On) on PC

Once upon a time, colour was a mandatory feature for a game. One reason is that one of the best ways to make a game's visuals pop, when limited to sprites, is to make them colourful. That is, sprites stand out from other sprites best when there are sharp colour differences between them. Attempting a monotone noir palette would leave a game looking like a collection of splotchy shapes, at least with the small sprite sizes on those old systems.

Therefore, colour it was, with mascots, many of them with major attitudes, and there was running and jumping, and the gaming world rejoiced. Fast forward 20 years, and dulled palettes became a thing, realistic and gritty, to match the gritty shooting the market hungered for…and all those colourful worlds and mascots were forgotten—dreams of an archaic past. Enter The Last Tinker: City of Colors.

No, this preview isn't a platform to lay abuse on the heads of shooting fans and developers—different games for different folks; a place for everything—but it is nice to see something like The Last Tinker. It presents itself unabashedly, colourful and eye-soakingly saturated. Every object and every corner of the world is filled with colours, and it's packed with stylistic choices. The game is constantly showing a conscious effort to provide something "different"; something new.

For instance, conversations take place on cardboard thought bubbles that float in the air above a character. Move around the character and the cardboard bubble will stay in place, making the thought unreadable. It's a nice touch—creative; unique. Other aspects of the visual design remind one of Psychonauts and its surrealistic, hallucinatory, deformed models. In The Last Tinker, hills are often bulbous and irregular masses, as an example.

It's a striking visual design, and very much the most impressive aspect of the hands-on preview Cubed3 was given. Visuals are not all that carries a game, though.

Screenshot for The Last Tinker: City of Colors (Hands-On) on PC

The gameplay in The Last Tinker, as it stands, is a bit rough. It is, after all, still about a year away from release. That said, Psychonauts is, again, called to mind when playing through the preview. One obvious parallel is that character-driven exploration of semi-open playground-like levels is the modus operandi. Interactions occur via short dialogue with other characters, smashing of objects via punching, and using powers to overcome obstacles and solve puzzles.

As far as the world design goes, the parallel continues. There are numerous collectibles, side missions, and assorted activities such as fight training, races, platforming segments, and action-style puzzles. It feels very "schoolyard", much like Tim Schafer's game, and, like that early Double Fine endeavor, it's an ambitious design. Whether The Last Tinker will achieve its ambitions, this preview can't say, as the demo was less than an hour long.

What can be said is that all the elements are there, if still mostly in concept. The very basics of combat are present, albeit lacking some sophistication. Everything is animated, if sometimes a bit rough. There are some simple puzzles. A handful of optional collectibles can be collected, often in interesting ways. It's a promising start.

Screenshot for The Last Tinker: City of Colors (Hands-On) on PC

Final Thoughts

If Mimimi Productions, the developer of The Last Tinker, continue to put their hearts into their game, it might flower into something special. Even if they mis-step a bit, they might still make a game worthy of standing near the very memorable Psychonauts. In any case, Mimimi deserves recognition for trying something big, ambitious and challenging—a colourful and creative video game in an industry that too often falls back on safer designs, whether shooting or iOS app-style productions. Here's hoping they succeed.






3D Platformer



C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10 (2 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   


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