Tales of the Tiny Planet is the newest physics-puzzle adventure to arrive to the Nintendo Switch. It tells the story of a planet searching through the galaxies for his lost friends and to help guide them to safety. From indie developers Pixel/Split, the game depends on you completing each level as fast as you possibly can to unlock more stages.
This adorable indie game is all about timing. Beating the puzzle before the timer runs out and restarts you from the beginning, as well as timing your movements to figure a way to reach the end goal. Sometimes, to proceed, the number of stars you have accumulated over the courses will act as currency to unlock the next level, which is why aiming for three stars every time was something I aimed for every stage.
There is a total of six worlds including an additional bonus world, each with 12 levels. Levels get longer and tougher as you progress through the six stages, although a few can be repetitive. Beating my own record time was something I found fun to do, and even attempting a few speed runs of some especially tricky puzzles helped myself get better and better at the fast-paced controls.
Speaking of controls, there really isn’t much to say because one button controls everything. Whether it be the left/right triggers or the lettered buttons, it’s your choice. The selected button controls contraptions and complex mechanisms that allow the tiny planet you play as navigate throughout the level. The pressure you place on the button matters as well, making the player try out different ways to proceed. You have no control of the tiny planet when it’s dropped into the maze either. It’s risk and reward with the gameplay, experimenting with ways to progress is the fun.
For the first four worlds, the threat are the spiked devices placed around the puzzles, though later enemies are introduced in the way of black planets that will kill the player when touched. These are also used for a way to manipulate a route through the puzzle, in the players favour.
I beat the main game in a couple of sittings as it isn’t necessarily a long game (maybe 2 hours long) and with no difficulty management. There is an option to play in Co-op mode, using one joycon per player to work together to complete the goal. Playing with someone else made trying to finish the levels more interactive and made beating the timer while working with someone intense and sometimes frustrating.
If you’re feeling even more up for the challenge, there’s another mode called ‘Marathon Mode’, were you can play through an entire world non-stop and get the fastest possible time. The clock doesn’t reset each time the planet dies either, so it introduces a new, interesting way of speed-running the game.
The art design for this indie title is simplistic with vibrant colour palettes for each world you encounter, along with artistic backgrounds that fit each stage’s aesthetic, accompanied by cheerful synths in each stage, though are very repetitive. If you keep failing, the tiny planet will encourage the player to keep trying with quirky voice lines alongside speech bubbles, which I found to be an adorable aspect of the game.
Game performance ran perfectly. While playing it never suffered from crashes or slow loading screens and as I played through the stages for a second time, I found no bugs both in dock and handheld mode.
There’s also a short achievement guide for the player to complete if they wish which is a nice addition to make it replayable; this makes me wish the Switch had a trophy system of some kind which would make collecting the achievements something I would be determined to do.
Tales of the Tiny Planet is a game I would find myself revisiting again in the future. It’s great fun, however there could be more. It isn’t anything revitalizing for the indie genre, though does hold up for being an entertaining experience for the Nintendo Switch.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Nintendo Switch code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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