The Last Tinker: City of Colors – Preview (PC)

The Last Tinker is a 3D platformer from German developer Mimimi Productions and their first foray outside of mobile gaming. As Koru, The Last Tinker, you are ultimately tasked with bringing peace to an increasingly tumultuous populace fractured by bigotry and mistrust. An allegory of our modern political and racially charged times, for sure, The game approaches this heavy material with a soft and vibrant touch. With an aesthetic rooted somewhere between Viva Piñata and Banjo Kazooie, Koru’s adventure is an over-saturated color laden spectacle that delights the eyes and tickles your inner child.

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The demo we played consisted of us completing a few errands before entering an important race against the town bully that quickly devolves into a skirmish. This is mostly a narrative driven tutorial designed to familiarize the player with the control scheme and characters while exploring your hero’s colorful home world and lasted about forty minutes.

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The characters are well designed and animated smoothly across the Paper-Mache like backdrops. The world is a joy to behold and through what we can only guess to be black magic trickery, ran at sixty frames per second with all graphics options maxed out on our modestly equipped PC. Though, for every bell and whistle the visuals received the sound department seemed to be left without. Of course there’s the obligatory soundtrack accentuated with environmental and action noises but the characters themselves only speak in monotone gibberish and the result is a lot of text reading. For a game that is so clearly directed toward younger gamers it seems like an odd choice to leave out such an engaging aspect as voice but we are reminded this is a demo and the feature may be included in the final release – we hope so.

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The control scheme is context based with most actions performed using the right trigger buttons, allowing Koru to perform his acrobatic feats with ease and fluidity. While the combat is mostly a one button affair (there are additional attack moves listed in the control options but for the purposes of the demo these seem to be non-functional) the game seems more directed at the player exploring its rich and beautiful environments and helping its inhabitants rather than fighting with them. Simple enough for children or casual gamers to acclimate quickly but not so much that core gamers will be left feeling bored – at least not straight away. It must be mentioned that this game is not precision platforming a’ la the Mario games and is more concerned with getting your character to the task at hand easily and dynamically than it is with mechanical nuance. The “platforms” in the game are environmental and fit well within the landscape. Kuro can transverse across lakes, hill faces, gaps, and octopi (yes, octopi) with ease and often all in the same run. There are also areas connected only by cable, in which Koru can surf across, jumping over any obstacles along the way, and culminating into a three-point drop.

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We’ve seen footage of levels not available in the demo that lend us to believe that The Last Tinker is on solid footing to deliver a great experience come this summer and are looking forward to seeing what else Koru can do with an expanded moves palette and what new magic the developers can conjure up in the remaining time.

The Last Tinker: City of Colors will release in Summer 2014 on PC, Mac, Linux via Steam and Consoles.