It’s been years since we got news about Pikmin 4, Nintendo’s next entry in the beloved RTS puzzle franchise. But don’t worry. If you’ve been craving some minion management, puzzle solving, cute worlds to explore, and maybe even some platforming, then you should check out Tinykin. And best of all, this excellent Pikmin-like adventure is out now across multiple platforms, including Xbox and PC via Game Pass. No waiting necessary!
Released on August 30, Tinykin is a gorgeous game that mixes vibrant 2D characterswith lavishly-detailed 3D worlds. You play as a young human boy who leaves his home planet in search of humanity’s true origin. He crash lands on Earth inside of an early 90s-era home. However, he’s only an inch or two tall and the house is overrun with smart sentient bugs who worship the home’s missing owner. These bugs need your help. Lucky for you, these odd critters known as Tinykin seem to love you and will follow you around, letting you command them and use their abilities to solve puzzle. You use these powers to help other bugs, of course. And in doing so, maybe you’ll get to figure out why you’re so small and where the owner of this home is.
Tinykins can be found in colored pods which you break open to collect. The various colors represent different flavors of the creatures, and each comes equipped with its own unique ability or skill. For example, red ones can be used as bombs to blow up walls or reveal shortcuts. Green ones can be stacked to create tiny towers that can help you reach new areas and pink ones are very strong, letting you move around large objects or push aside obstacles using your neon-colored friends.
As you explore and amass a tiny army of Tinykins, the gameplay loop of the game becomes apparent. The game is built around large maps set in different areas of the house. Sprinkled around these rooms are small puzzles and larger side objectives. Some of these are fairly simple, only asking you to head over to an area and use a few of your critters to, say, move a book that’s required to reach another object needed by a bug. Others are more elaborate, forcing you to collect 20 or 30 Tinykin of a specific color to progress. But I never got annoyed by these objectives. In fact, I loved building up a massive army of adorable 2D critters as I searched every nook and cranny for collectibles and more Tinykin to add to my posse.
While these worlds are fairly large—it will likely take you over an hour to complete one entirely—you don’t have to walk around everywhere. Tinykin features a soapboard that lets you skate around the world and even grind on ziplines and ledges. It also gives you a bubble that allows you to glide to out-of-the-way areas. This aspect of Tinykin is what really made the game click with me. I was already into the mix of 2D/3D art and the huge armies of tiny critters, but the fluidity of movement in the game makes it a breeze to explore each world.
Even without the Tinykin, it’s just fun to run, jump, climb, grind and grind around each level as you meet new bugs and help them with their various problems and quests.
Sadly, I did encounter some frame rate issues in certain parts of each world I played while on the Xbox Series X, which was disappointing. Thankfully, they aren’t too common and seem confined to a few specific spots that you can avoid. Still, I’d love to see a patch in the near future that helps to address these issues as I have to imagine the Series X can more than handle the visual complexity on display in Tinykin.
Tinykin is one of those games that just grabs you and pulls you in and before you know it, you’ve completed an entire world. Based on the main questline involving a half dozen or so key objects, I’m not expecting Tinykin to be some 20-hour adventure. But that’s okay. As this game proves, you can have a lot of fun with tiny things.
Tinykin is out now on Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PS5, PS4, Nintendo Switch, and PC. On Xbox, Steam and Switch you can download and play a free demo before buying the full game.