Review: The Last Tinker: City of Colours (PS4)

story
Last Tinker: City of Colours’ tells the tale of a colourful world known as Tinker Land. This world is created by all things arts and craft, such things as mere grass blades are strands of paper, whilst buildings and other structures are detailed cardboard.

The adventure takes place around the City of Colours that was once a thriving community of coloured diversity. Over time however the coloured citizens have segregated into their mutual colours and began living separate lives. The particular colour of a citizen represents their defining characteristic, for instance red being typically associated with anger.

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As the player you control ‘Koru’, a tinker who lives in an out skirted community where a diverse community still co-exists, that is until one fateful day, when The Bleakness arrives and threatens everyone’s existence. The Bleakness absorbs the life and color out of all it touches sponging everything in its tracks, hence bleak colours. Koru as a tinker has to not only save Tinker Land but also reunify its citizens and help them realise the fault of their segregation.

Tinkers story is one that everyone can relate too there are moral dilemma’s in this game that are very relevant in today’s society along the lines of financial hardship, bullying, racism and materialistic values.

At it’s core however,it is just a fun-loving children’s adventure through the use of nothing more than cardboard, and crafty ideas.

Presentation
Presentation, Wow! This games greatest asset is its presentation. From the instant you boot up, your, sometimes buried, child imagination is drawn into the game. Tinker Land just screams innocent fun with colors bursting out of your screen in the fully realised arts and craft world. When talking to a character their script appears on cardboard speech bubbles and text is scribbled in ink as they speak. Often characters have a cheeky comment or smart remark to add, which doesn’t sound like much, but in context adds so much more charm to the world. Although there is next to no actual spoken vocals, characters grunt and groan as their comments appear on screen – when I first came across this treat I was instantly reminded of some of the classic games where such features were used, like Mario 64 and Banjo-Kazooie and many RPG’s that faced hardware limitations, the inclusion of this choice resounds amazingly well. It seems the previously mentioned games are a strong source of inspiration for Mimimi not only for the sound effects of speech but aspects of the platforming segments were clearly emulated with a delicate love.

The individual characters are full of life, Koru is basically a silent protagonist but has his friends to do the talking for him, each one has their own mannerisms and traits that make them stand out from the already uber unique world. I must point out the character Biggs, he is what I feel to be the best example to prove my point. Biggs can be called over to aid in your quest, when you call him however the look of excitement and sheer joy is astonishing; I genuinely felt happy that I could make a character that excited. On the counter side as he waits to be called, he looks like nothing more than a grumpy toddler throwing a temper tantrum with the biggest frown anyone could wear. The worst of Biggs emotions however was when I accidentally whistled him over to me and he physically couldn’t get there, the poor guy broke down into tears and my heart sank, I felt terrible, like I’d taken taken candy from baby. Biggs is the best example I could use but he is by far not the only character that creates a unique twist of life to this game.

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But onto the world, this game just looks like it could be straight out of a children’s book. The pure innocent fun is just bursting through the seams. The sun for example is a living breathing character just chilling in the sky with a huge smile and beaming eyes. The physical world is a joy to run around because it is really just that much fun, from the quaint crafty aesthetics of the outer districts to the again crafty constructed mining suburb. Really driving the nail home is the soundtrack accompanying your adventure, a soothing folksy melody strums as you explore the the previously mentioned rural locals while a heavy guitar riff triggers in its set points; whilst vastly contrasting they still feel so very natural.

Finally I feel it rightfully so that I mention this. Obviously a game with the phrase “City of Colours” in its title is going to have a lot of colours in it. Making this game even more versatile and manageable to a broader audience however, is the colour blind mode; such a small gesture that many may not consider but would make a huge difference to the lives of many wanting to escape into this beautiful game – It is inspiring to see. (As a side note, being a welder, I feel this is a feature I will be needing more of one day)

gameplay
Koru is a Tinker: he is able to harness and control his elements, in a similar theme to the  In this case his elements are the main colors that create his world of red, green and blue. Each offer a variation to how players can approach enemies when confronted and can even help solve particular puzzles; although during game play, I never found myself overwhelmed by bad guys or struggling with any of the puzzles, even when playing on hard for review purposes. I thought that it was set at this level perfectly, the combat isn’t so difficult that you lose complete focus on the fun wonderful world you are thrust in and ditto for the puzzles; not extensively challenging but they offer you a chance to explore further into particular areas without breaking the immersion.

Koru is a master at freerunning; able to easily navigate the arts and crafts world with relative ease. Although more often than not the park our segments are just tunneled at you, being forced down a set path. Unfortunately from what I have found in my solid hands on experience is that this game doesn’t really take any advantage of the PS4 or its features i.e. touch pad or DS4 speaker. I really feel that this was a missed opportunity where Mimimi could have just extended their creative charm even further.

Throughout your adventure there are special collectibles to find, a set amount in each stage of progression. Finding these rare items adds an extra bit of fun and unlocks some bonuses for you in game such an concept art or even a Big Head mode, which was great to see. I couldn’t quite put my finger on why I had to find them all but there was something about this game that made me want to squeeze all the fun out of my experience, I just couldn’t get away from this game. An in game currency also allows you to purchase a variety of colour based power enhancements and extras that aid in your quest but you wont really need them through your quest.

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As I briefly alluded too, this game is set up in stages or more specifically chapters; these segments are opened up vastly within the confines of their respective chapter which gave me the feeling of an excellent open world state. The thing about it was that I didn’t even realize this was the case until I had to reload my game. They all blend so well together and without any noticeable hitch apart from a few loading screens.

What makes this storytelling and gameplay formulas slightly confusing though is who is the actual target audience? Kids may miss the severity of some of the issues being handled whilst some adults would pass this game off as being too childish or the puzzles too easy. Fortunately I have found myself sitting happily between these two extremities, but I can understand gamers stuck between both worlds who may miss the relevance of the game.

I love this game’s approach to morals and ethics whilst being absolutely captivated by the outrageously authentic environment, in particular it’s loveable and charming inhabitants.
There are a couple of hitches such as loading screens or an extremely rare instance of frame rate dropping when I moved the camera too fast but these small nuisances are nothing in comparison to the genuine, pure fun that this game has to offer.

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