The Last Tinker: City of Colors preview

Since its announcement before Gamescom in 2012, Tink has gone through a few changes. The game’s world of Tinkerworld seems more vibrant and full of life, and the protagonist has had a name change and a facelift… well, he looks different. Of course, the most noticeable change is the title; it’s now The Last Tinker: City of Colors. With initial comparisons being made to games like Epic Mickey and De Blob, will this game manage to find its own identity? We got our hands on a preview build to find out.

A City Without Colours

Tinkerworld is a world of imagination where anything can be built from the basic materials of colour, paper and glue as long as the idea behind it is strong enough. They can create entire environments such as cities, forests, mountains and oceans, or they can create living creatures both large and small. The inhabitants each have their own favourite colour, but when they stop living in harmony, these colours take on the different and worrisome personality traits of fear, anger and sadness. The colours develop a dislike for each other and the city of Colortown becomes divided. In the outer district of the city, a place still free from conflict, lives Koru. This boy must help to restore harmony to Colortown before it’s too late.

Despite this rather pressing issue, Koru’s first priority is to enter a race. As his path to the registration booth is blocked, he must take the longer route and it is here that we’re introduced to the game’s platforming. Holding down a single button will make Koru sprint. If he approaches a set of stepping stones or wooden beams, he will immediately jump across these in the desired direction like a certain famous assassin. Creepers can be used to reach higher ledges and rails can be used to quickly transfer from area to area.

Racing Costs Money

Once Koru reaches the registration booth he is told that he needs to pay an entrance fee. The game’s currency takes the form of different coloured gems, each with a different value. Small amounts of these can be found by destroying crates and barrels that lie around Colortown. Unfortunately, these aren’t enough for Koru to be able to pay the entrance fee, so he must do a couple of jobs instead. The first takes him to a mushroom farm where he helps to fertilise the mushrooms while learning how to interact with other friendly creatures. This task may be simple enough, but it left the impression that these interactions will become vital for solving puzzles later into the title.

Koru’s second task was to help with training at a fighting tournament. The controls for dodging and attacking make it an easy task to string combos together against multiple enemies. Groups of enemies lose their intimidation factor as it becomes apparent that Koru is strong and skilled enough to handle himself.

All of the skills that you have learned are put to the test as you enter the race. As his rival cheats, Koru loses the race and gets into a fight. Koru’s friend Tap gets hurt and falls into a restless sleep. During the night, a stranger creeps into their hideout and offers to heal Tap if Koru helps him. With the deal done, Koru is teleported out of the hideout.

What Happens Next?

It is here that our time in Tinkerworld ends. The game does have a couple of issues that need to be ironed out before the game is released. While the platforming is simple and seamless, sometimes the challenge is actually working out where you need to go. Half of the fun of the game is exploration, but areas can sometimes be too busy and your destination becomes unclear. Tap will act as a waypoint at times, but there is very little guidance when he isn’t available. The fixed camera angle also adds to confusion when scenery obscures your view. By the time you’ve managed to move away from the obstruction, you’re left confused as to which direction you’re facing.

Has the game shaken its comparisons with Epic Mickey and De Blob? It’s hard to tell. Despite its appearance as a simple and easily-accessible platformer, the controls and game description hint towards a deeper experience as the gamer progresses. The quarrels between Tinkerworld residents have meant that a depression-style Bleakness has engulfed the area. Differently coloured attacks must be used to defeat enemies and restore colour to the world, but we’re yet to see this in action. The game holds promise and only time will tell if developer Mimimi Games can fulfil our expectations.

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I'm an avid gamer across many platforms, and I love to write about them. I'll try most games once, but I draw the line at fighters and racing sims.
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