Tiny and Big: Grandpaís Leftovers
Black Pants/Crimson Cow
PC, Mac, Linux
June 19th, 2012
Somewhere in a desert far, far away, something is making a mess of the place. Ancient buildings are being disturbed. Blocks are being found cut, pulled apart, and rocketized halfway across the region and all because one man is searching for something that was stolen from him. The team at Black Pants have put together a title that without a doubt proves that you donít need a huge budget to have some fun, just a coincidence that it happens to be in a giant sandbox.
So who do you think is able to cause destruction on such a huge scale? Meet Tiny, a technophile genius who wouldnít be caught dead without his tools and more importantly the trusty robot companion. Bequeathed a single pair of briefs, otherwise referred to as pants, by his late grandpa, Tiny is everything a grandson should be. Unfortunately, he doesnít keep those pants for long. His arch nemesis, Big, has stolen the pants and fled to the desert. Not much is known on Big at the beginning of the story except he is a person with a lot of unresolved issues. Throughout the story you will learn more about him and why he stole the pants, but first we must catch the stubby sucker.
Grandpaís Leftovers features a simple story, and a refreshing one at that. The characters get flushed out a little more though giving this mission of retrieval a bit more spice. Even the desert and its inhabitants have their own dark past that the game shines some light on.
Judging by the art direction that was taken in creating this universe, itís obvious that the art director has some of the weirdest dreams imaginable, or spends a lot of time on forums. One look at the MeGusta-like style to the faces will have any internet troll wishing they lived in that universe, not unlike some people did for Pandora when Avatar came out. Itís actually kind of an awesome look when combined with the cel-shading and the pencil-like shadows. Unique is definitely the word that describes the visual style Black Pants created with this game.
Lacking the ability to fully sound out their words, only making acknowledgement like sounds when trying to speak, the two characters talk mostly in dialogue bubbles. The rest of the world however has no trouble sounding out their.. erm.. sounds and making a grand show of it. Much like in a comic book, interacting with a rock in any way except pushing it is accompanied by a giant word in the sky.
The main focus in the sound department however is largely based on the music side of things. With twelve indie bands being featured in this game they bring that same essence to this universe. Played through the backpack which now houses his radio companion, youíll listen to a slew of just, chill songs while youíre busy traversing the desert. Music to cut rocks by indeed.
Surviving a desert is no easy task and itís going to take everything that Tiny has come with. Fortunately, like the story, the gameplay is more on the simple side of things. Armed with a laser that can cut through most of the blocks in front of him, Tiny is able to make any amount of ramps or bridges out of even the biggest blocks. Really the only thing that youíre not able to cut is the environment, which means you have to be careful sometimes not to cut down your path forward. The other two tools, the rope and the rockets are used to simply just move the blocks into position or out of the way.
Of course, cutting and moving rocks around wouldnít be any fun unless they didnít include a proper physics engine to drop all these blocks in, which they did. You find that out the first time that a tower falls on you after you cut it and pull it down. All this brought to you by a highly modified version of the Scape Engine.
The cool thing about the game is that it forces you to look around for the easy way to the goal. The problem is that the game never gets any harder. There are multiple ways to cut down a block in every scenario where you come to an impasse and taking the easy way out is rewarded with progression, every time. So if youíre looking for any kind of challenge youíre going to have to try and find the collectibles.
Scattered throughout the levels are a bunch of collectibles, mostly in the form of a boring stone. Within the six hour long story mode, youíre probably going to find most of these on the first run through of each level. Of course if you miss a stone, on accident, or by lack of motivation as in my case sometimes, youíre able to go back using the level select and reclaim youíre missing stones. On the odd occasion you may run into a tape with music. Youíll want to find all these because once you find it in the game youíre able to actually get that song as an .mp3 and add it to your library. On an even rarer occasion, there are the god plates, cartoon portraits of the creators themselves. Thereís even bonus levels hidden about in the form of an arcade machine. Finding any of the above awards achievements but thatís not everything. There is even average stats for the people who arenít into collecting everything around. There are many reasons to play Tiny and Big, so coming back to it is made really easy.
Everything about Tiny and Big: Grandpaís Leftovers has just a good, chill feeling about it. It has the potential to be one of those games you play for an hour or so when you come home from work, something to wind down on. Best enjoyed with the music on the soundtrack, the indie bands featured all succeeded in bringing their own unique flavors to the world. Personally, my favorite thing to do was walk around looking at stuff admiring the art in things like the history plates or in the hidden room, all while listening to William Honda - The Dirt. They really give you the options to play the way you want to play. Adding the ability to play with the controller was a stroke of genius on their part.
There are a lot of reasons why you should be playing this game, and only a couple reasons why some wouldnít. To me, thatís easy math.