By Matt Gosper
GAME NAME: Tiny and Big: Grandpa's Leftovers
DEVELOPER(S): Black Pants
PUBLISHER(S): Black Pants
RELEASE DATE(S): 18 June 2012
Yet another title on my never-ending wishlist of indie titles has arrived, in the form of Tiny and Big: Grandpa's Leftovers. Luckily, I found it just as enjoyable as I'd hoped it would be.
Tiny and Big tells the story of two brothers fighting over their Grandpa's legacy, a magical pair of (under)pants. Despite them being left to Tiny in their grandpa's will, Big has stolen them and all their magical powers for himself. You take on the role of Tiny as you venture through the desert to reclaim them from your thief of a brother. It should be pretty obvious at this point that the game does not take itself too seriously. Developed and published by Black Pants Studios, the game has a light-hearted humour to it that accompanies its freestyle gameplay quite well.
The game has a very sandbox feel to it, as you make your way through each level with your world-altering tools. Tiny is in possession of a super-powered laser, homemade rockets and a grappling hook to tear down and rearrange the world around him as he likes. Each action is also accompanied by an in-world 'sound effect', giant 3D text that appears within the world to accentuate your actions. Almost any column, wall or boulder can be sliced and diced as you like, so long as you can get the whole thing in-frame at once. The freedom to tear the world apart is a very satisfying feeling, but can work to your disadvantage if you get two carried away. On multiple occasions I got too involved in messing with the environment to the point of obstructing my own path forward. Likewise, you have to be spatially aware when knocking down columns or dragging rocks around; don't get out of the way and you'll end up crushing yourself, an all-too-easy accomplishment with some of the massive setpieces you'll find yourself playing with.
All this adds together to make the game's greatest challenge the quest to find how to affect just the right part of the environment to keep moving forward.the prime example is an extended sequence moving across a rickety and damaged bridge to chase Big. Slice too wide or pull the wrong portion of the bridge and you'll end up toppling a critical platform you needed to get to. This also means that there isn't always one solution to any given situation - get creative and you might find a way to get ahead that Black Pants Studio weren't expecting!
An extra layer of challenge is added ot the game with each level having hidden areas and achievements, minigame challenges, collectible "Boring Stones", music tracks and a "Cut Par", the minimum number of laser slices needed to complete the level. For a game that's only a handful of hours long, this adds an excellent level of replayability.
Once you're done with the game itself, it's still plenty of fun to knock around in the levels, messing with the environment. With an addictive soundtrack to boot, the game is well worth the low asking price. Black Pants have also released a free "Episode 0" to the game, letting you test-drive the mechanics if you still have reservations... Not that you really should.