If there were one game that actively persuades me to become a maniacal scientist, experimenting with a whole host of objects and creatures, then Tiny Brains would be it. Marking their first title on the market, Spearhead Games have collected some of the finest ex-development staff from numerous heavy hitting studios, setting out to create something entirely fresh and within their own, unrestricted vision.
My first time with Tiny Brains was during E3, wherein countless blockbuster titles were demonstrated, particularly as it marked the full unveiling of Next-Gen consoles. It was therefore slightly saddening to see Spearheads’ baby tucked away among a handful of smaller stands. Despite its location, Ben and myself sat down for our quick gameplay session and came away thoroughly impressed. Nearly six months later however, we’ve finally had our clammy hands all over the game, finding its arrival a refreshing and incredibly fun experience.
In a genetically enhanced nutshell, Tiny Brains is a puzzler, placing you into the paws of four rodents whom have been picked, pulled and mutated into scientific creatures, each with an abnormal ability. Through the use of each of their powers – Pull, Push, Create and Teleport – you’re tasked with navigating a plethora of different puzzles and environments. As expected, you’re locations reside within a series of testing chambers, set up by a crazed scientist who narrates your every move and monitors your ‘pathetic’ attempts of intelligence throughout.
Aside from having a main campaign, Spearhead have added the addition of challenge modes, tiny soccer and a couple of alternate story modes. When it came down to the main story I did find it incredibly short, being able to complete it in just over and hour and a half. But before you go ranting about how criminally short it may be, the one thing you have to remember (next to the low price point) is the consistent quality and huge amount of replayability that’s jam packed inside. From the offset its upbeat and spritely musical soundtrack will welcome you. I found it suited the game perfectly, presenting a charming, yet fun atmosphere.
Once you’re bopping around, switching between each character or playing with up to four players locally or online, I was surprised by how many different ways each puzzle could be solved. With countless combinations between each character, it’d be interesting to see the different ways in which each player approaches the different layouts. Speaking of which, if you happen to play solo, then that’s not a problem; each puzzle adapts itself to the number of people on screen. For instance, at one part I was stumped on how to proceed, which then led me to including another controller (I arrogantly thought having two players would ease my situation). Unfortunately for me this made a switch vanish, increasing the difficulty furthermore. Damn.
Having said that, you’d think having more people with you might ease the number of rage quits that might occur. Well, if you have any sense of cooperation with you’re group, then yes, if not then you can expect an even longer journey ahead. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing though, as the communication between friends online or in the same room, impacts both hilariously and in strokes of genius, should everything meld together. Therefore this game is truly made for co-op, but don’t fear the path of a lone ranger, you’ll have just as much fun challenging yourself alone.
Once you do reach the end each of the four chapters, then you get scored on how long it took you. It’s here that you begin to think just how well you can execute each move better, improving technique and topping the leaderboards for ultimate Tiny Brains supremacy. That’s why it doesn’t matter about length; the smaller details will have you coming back for more, itching your brain while you think about how someone completed that challenge in less than five seconds.
I think it’s fair to say that challenging yourself is a big part of Tiny Brains. When it came to laying down the gauntlet in ‘Ball Challenge’ I found my true potential for teamwork and skill. Don’t think that just because you completed the campaign you know it all, you’ve only scratched the surface. Honing your patience and technique in combat, ball or puzzle challenges is vital. Just make sure you wrap your controller in bubble wrap, it’s probably going to see your wall sooner of later.
- + Cute, Quirky and Funny
- + Countless solutions to every puzzle
- + Online/Local co-op is hilarious and fun
- - Short campaign