With the launch of the next-gen hardware, imaginations have been running wild speculating just how impressive the experience of platforming titles would be translated over onto the new systems. However, now almost a full year since the launch of the PS4 and Xbox One and some of our most sought after platformers from the last generation are currently a no-show.
Enter The Last Tinker City of Color to more than reacquaint us with a vivid platfoming landscape. Filled with memorable and colorful characters which are only overshadowed by the challenging puzzles and fun-filled narrative, this $14.99 bargain title has more than satisfied our platform graving with intelligent gameplay design.
Clearly one of the most colorful games we’ve ever seen, The Last Tinker City of Color places users in the brave and trustworthy shoes of the last Tinker as the title suggests, a young man named Koru who has the resemblance of a monkey living in the colorful slums known as Colortown of the larger Tinkerworld. As the story goes, Koru is tasked with resolving an interesting conflict between the colorful inhabitants of Colortown as a sort of child like take on color disputes (or race if you will) begins to take shape, resulting in the inhabitants seeking color separation or segregation if you look between the lines. Shrewdly and more importantly, a sinister antagonist who has betrayed your trust eventually shows his fiendish hand, propelling you on a lengthy and fun adventure.
With delightful expression of color unity, early on Koru is introduced to the games peaceful rainbow colored afro wearing lizard looking fellows, who pose the position that “separating our people is wrong!”, “Dividing the city into districts is wrong!”, “We are one! We must work together again!” and lastly he states “All colors are equal!” – At this point I was already loving the direction of this new adventure.
Along for the ride Koru is joined by his trusty companion Tap who is a floating ram like panata who greatly assists Koru. Tap is given the responsibility of being Koru’s instant navigator. If on your journey you find yourself turned around seeking to head in the right direction just tap (pun intended) down on the directional pad and Tap quickly speeds along in the direction you should be heading. Yet there is also more to Tap as you brave the games vibrant environments. Tap can also be quite headstrong in a cute teddy bear sort of way when the two of you are facing an unreasonable enemy dialogue.
Taking a page from the platformers such as Jak and Daxter or Ratchet and Clank, The Last Tinker City of Color, though it does borrow from the aforementioned titles quite a bit, The Last Tinker offers a unique tale of parkour gameplay, fast-paced combat, color-themed puzzles and a captivating story kids will simply love. Colors weigh heavily on the experience and the puzzle solving (and I’m not embarrassed to say those musical mushrooms were also quite a challenge).
The last Tinker as Koru is referred to throughout his journey comes well-equipped with a fighting dexterity which as player traverse further through the story find out, enables Koru to become a more seasoned combatant. Attacks are eventually designated by colors such as red, blue and green or the square, triangle or circle buttons on the dualshock 4 controller. In addition, these same color co-ordinations eventually empower Koru to overcome some brain teasing puzzles which are quite rewarding once you’ve deciphered their distinct challenge. While the combat is simple, it perfectly compliments this colorful tale with the right amount of charm, without feeling out of place. I would have preferred a dedicated jump button along with the evasive or roll maneuver, which seems to have replaced the idea a jump button.
The Last Tinker City of Color offers no dedicated voice-over for any of the games characters. The only voice acting can be attributed to the games introduction narrative. Surprisingly this non-voice acting direction works out great as it helps to create a unique story. Other than by way of the written dialogue, characters are expressive through humorous body language and gestures. The characters in this world are full of personality which over the course of the journey you will unfold in different variants.
For such an affordable package, as mentioned before The Last Tinker City of Color is a lengthy and diverse ride taking Koru and his pal Tap through striking level designs. Featuring some of the most quirky creatures, Tinkerworld is a beautifully handcrafted environment, populated among a living papier-mâché universe.
Unique game elements see players using color to invoke different emotions in citizens and enemies to gain an advantage in combat and puzzle situations. Our time spent in Tinkerworld was quite the ride, receiving much more from this experience than the price admission.
We hope this isn’t last adventure for Koru and Tap as they certainly deserve another.