If you've an itch to play some Pikmin without borrowing your buddy’s Nintendo Switch, Tinykin is more than the right remedy to scratch it. Developer Splashteam combines eye-catching 2D art in a 3D environment, delivering a captivating fusion of Paper Mario and the aforementioned strategy series.
Despite the game’s tiny nature, the adventure presents a huge story as you progress throughout your journey. Milo, the game’s silent protagonist, lands on Earth, albeit shrunken, finding himself inside a house which contains an entire world and civilisation in itself. Ants, beetles, and all sorts of creatures and insects have built a colony in every room of the house. The game introduces the story in quick, beautifully rendered cinematics. Outside of these, you discover most of the story by exploring and interacting with NPCs. You'll encounter all sorts of characters talking about their everyday lives, giving you glimpses into the overall state of the world. For instance, some ant workers barely scrape by on minimum wage, while others are comedians in restaurants built inside cabinets. These little details add to the joy of the world around you.
Speaking of joy, the game does a great job of utilising the minimum to traverse around the world. Tinykin are a variety of cute little creatures at your disposal that let you explore the house, ranging from exploding red Tinykin to stackable green ones, forming a ladder to access new areas. In addition to a bubble mechanic that lets you float around, you're also given a skateboard-like soapboard. While it's a nice addition as it lets you traverse the world faster, other than its necessity for ziplines, it misses the opportunity to explore more gameplay aspects. With only collectables and pollen as your reward for exploring, incorporating more tricks or even a time-based gameplay mechanic with the soapboard would have made traversal feel more dynamic.
Other than a few frame rate issues, the game runs smoothly most of the time, which is essential given its heavy emphasis on platforming. This and missed gameplay opportunities don't stop the game from being a cute and compelling 3D platformer. Exploring a civilisation built upon books and rulers is a delight to travel around and unwind with of an evening.