Tiny and Big: Grandpa’s Leftovers
by Diego Beltrami
Tiny & Big is a game about manipulating the environment. Or at least I wish it were. The premise is simple. Your brother, Big, has stolen something you Granpa left you, and you must recover it. Big being quite a twat just makes things difficult for you. Fortunately you have your trusty tools with you.
The game revolves around your magnificent laser cutting tool. With it you can slice pieces of the environment to create paths to where you want to go. There are certain limitations, as in you can’t make partial cuts, so you have to mark the object side to side if you want to cut it; and of course there are things that are impossible to slice. Still, it’s lovely how you can chop almost anything, any way yo want. Complimenting the laser you have a grappling hook to pull things and a attachable rocket that you can fire to push things (which is infinitely more fun than the hook). This means you can cut and move anything out of the way or into the way. Whatever you like. This is mostly used to make a path through debris or to make a bridge out of something. Puzzles aren’t much more complicated than that. Still the mechanic is fun, but it’s not enough to sustain the game for as long as it lasts.
Add to it the terrible platforming, with not very responsive controls and terrible level design where you can find platforms with hard to see holes in them, that make you fall to your death constantly, that makes the game, though enjoyable at first, end up becoming an annoyance.
Still, I think the game’s biggest mistake lies in its level design. It’s a game that lets you interact with the environment, forge your own path, approach as you please, yet it’s completely linear and solutions are often thought in advance. There is no freedom here, which is a terrible contrast with the tool design. It’s a mash up of two different philosophies with disastrous consequences.
Sadly this means after the tutorial you’ve seen almost all this game has to offer regarding its original mechanics. There are only a few interesting approaches to the use of the tool down the line but these are extraordinary.
I also found this game attempt at charm to fall flat on his face, pretty much like the player does all the time thanks to the disastrous platforming. Characters aren’t cute, their ramblings aren’t interesting, the whole dynamic between Tiny & big is nothing you haven’t seen before. Feels like a game that’s trying too hard to be charming that never becomes authentic, it never becomes its own thing.
In the end this is a game that has lovely ideas but falls short on execution. Maybe if there is a sequel it could build on the foundations and actually let it become the game that this one should’ve been.