Do you ever get an urge to play a game which feels like it arrived at least 10 years ago? A game which, although not completely appalling, makes you yearn to play other titles which it is clearly heavily inspired by? Well then you’re in luck, because now on the PS4, you have access to The Last Tinker: City of Colours.
In The Last Tinker, you play as Koru, a young boy/monkey who lives in the appropriately named ‘City of Colours’ (or “Colors”, for our American friends). Unsurprisingly, Koru is one of the last ‘Tinkers’ left around, which means he can manipulate and understand the very means of the world in which he lives. One day, Koru is tricked by a dark force, and unknowingly drains all colour from the land, and must go on an adventure with the help of his flying pet Tap to save the City, and reinvigorate it with colour.
You spend a decent proportion of the game milling around the town where Koru lives, talking to inhabitants to gain access to the next area to spread even more colour. The town is accompanied by some surprisingly catchy and calm guitar music, which was a nice touch, but the problem is that this town feels very much like a museum. For example, at one point you go to an area that resembles a theme park or fairground, which is full of stalls to buy things and amusements to play. When you approach anything however, a random NPC says a generic phrase and little more. There’s little to no interactivity with the environments within the game, which is a shame considering how detailed they actually look. Everything is created from an almost arts-and-crafts kind of aesthetic which looks as if it would be interactive, which is why it’s so jarring when it isn’t. It’s a joy to look at, but little else.
Between these areas, expect to wait a short period due to the numerous loading screens. This doesn’t sound like a huge issue, but when the next area is clearly in view, it’s an annoyance to then be greeted by a white screen while the game transitions from one zone to the next. This is just one of the minor yet annoying technical issues with which the game suffers, as the frame-rate also dips to a worrying low level whenever there’s a lot of bustle on the screen. It’s not exactly game ruining stuff, but it’s certainly not something you’d expect from a next-gen exclusive.
You soon set off from this town though, and then you are into the main bulk of the game: gathering the colours to fix your mishaps. When playing, The Last Tinker feels as if it should be a ‘combat-platformer’, almost in the vein of Jack & Daxter or Ratchet & Clank. Imagine my surprise then, when neither of these aspects were really enjoyable. I mean sure, you can run and jump to your heart’s content, but not perhaps how you would expect. For example, it’s a little odd that a platformer doesn’t even feature a jump button. Instead, you hold down R2 to run and Koru just automatically jumps over obstacles and gaps. This immediately takes any challenge out of the platforming, and it is instead replaced by just making sure you point the protagonist in the right direction. As for combat, it’s a similarly boring state of affairs. Most encounters simply boil down to repeatedly pressing the square button until all enemies are dead, although to be fair to the game, some of the later fights do require a small amount of dodging with R1. Once you gather some of the colours, your arsenal of attacks does widen somewhat, but not enough to make combat truly fulfilling. There’s no real weight behind your attacks like in game’s such as the Batman Arkham series, making fights more of a chore than anything else.
Overall, The Last Tinker: City of Colours feels like an attempt at bringing the fun of 3D platformers from the PS2-era onto the PS4. Unfortunately, no amount of Sonic inspired rail-grinding or Prince of Persia ‘free-running’ will make up for what is nothing more than a mediocre game. I can imagine parents may get some enjoyment from the visuals if they play with their children, but otherwise I can’t really think of an incentive to purchase this game.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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