Tiny and Big
In Tiny & Big: Grandpa’s Leftovers, the player takes on the role of Tiny, an odd-looking chap with a wide range of gadgets, who’s hunting down Big, another odd-looking chap, who’s made off with a family heirloom passed down by Tiny’s grandfather – a pair of pants.
Tiny & Big could be described as a platformer game where the player has to craft the platforms; in every level, the player has to head towards a certain area, or follow a route and overcome environmental obstacles along the way. However, to overcome these obstacles, the player has to make use of some combination of Tiny’s gizmos – a laser cutter that slices through almost any object encountered in the game; a grappling hook, which allows the player to grab an object from a distance and drag it along the ground; and the rocket launcher, which fires a small rocket which can push objects forward. From these three simple mechanisms comes a whole world of possibility in terms of how each individual player will forge their path through the game. One player may end up tearing out huge chunks of a nearby wall and rocketing it into place as a makeshift bridge across a gaping chasm; another may knock down a pillar across the gap and drag it into place.
As the game progresses, these mechanisms are used for battles as well as puzzles; Big, eager to smoosh Tiny using his pants-based telekinesis, rains down boulders and crumbling architecture hurtling towards the player character, which has to be deflected (usually by slicing them up as they approach), or avoided, by creating safe shelters using cut-up pieces of the environment. It’s not always easy – death is fast, frequent and unforgiving – but the game quickly loads up the most recent checkpoint so the player can try again. The checkpoint system can be quite frustrating at times, though – at particularly troublesome parts, the player may find themselves having to repeat basic actions like picking up collectibles on the way to the part they’re struggling with.
The art style of Tiny & Big is a very knowing “cartoony” style, filled with whimsical environmental details (pants-based religious iconography is ubiquitous) in a bright, colourful world, all seen through the lens of an intentionally rough-round-the-edges interface. It’s simple, but very charming.
The music in the game is fantastic; instead of having just one piece of background music per level, the in-game “radio” cycles through music which the player can find dotted about the levels like any other collectible – so, if the retro-style tunes aren’t working, you can simply skip to the next track. There’s a lot of variety in the music, but it’s all fitting with the cartoony theme. Other audio in the game is similarly fitting; every character’s voices are nonsensical babble in the vein of Okami or Banjo-Kazooie, and there’s plenty of cute sound effects with accompanying comic-book on-screen onomatopoeia – as well as thundering booms that accompany the terrifying and regular sight of massive pieces of architecture hurtling through the air towards you.
Although the game is very short (around 3-5 hours), there’s a fair amount of replay value to it: from finding minigames and easter eggs hidden in the levels, to picking up all the collectible “Boring Stones”, to finishing levels with the lowest number of laser-slices, Tiny & Big manages to stay entertaining even after the main story is complete. It’s a charming game, and well worth every hour of play that’s put into it, especially for fans of the genre who enjoy a little twist to their platformer.