Just like in my review of Life Goes On, I wish I could say that the behavior of indie developers has changed since then, but that would be a lie. Recently, it seems like we have had a slight surge in indie developers acting really crummy towards upset customers and fans because, well, they act like immature children who sadly think acting like a sour grape towards your customers or fans is a good thing. Fortunately, it is only a small part of the indie scene that does that. For about every scummy indie developer, you get about four or five good ones that will make a quality game, and won’t fight back against criticism aimed at their product. For example, here is Mimimi Production’s The Last Tinker: City of Colors. This is a short, but fantastic platformer that any owner of a PC or a PlayStation 4 should really download and support the developer!
The story has you playing as Koru, a monkey-like character, who lives in a world where everything is made from red, blue, and green colors. This place is called Tinkertown. Unfortunately, over time, the three colors split apart and have their own personalities, with red being angry, green being afraid, and blue being sad. After a long day of work and racing, Koru encounters a spirit known as the purple spirit, and asks Koru to help him restore the world to unity and peace. As it turns out, helping the purple spirit ends up doing the exact opposite, because the purple spirit unleashes a powerful force that turns everything white called The Bleakness. It is up to Koru to find the red, green, and blue spirit, and save the world of Colortown! The story might be simple and not so subtle about its themes of discrimination, but I enjoyed the overall themes of diversity, discrimination, and creativity. I do have some complaints about certain aspects of the stories, but I will talk about them in the later part of the review.
The Last Tinker: City of Colors is a 3D platformer, in the vein of the later Nintendo 64 and PlayStation 2 era. Think of games like Jak and Daxter, Sly Cooper, Banjo Kazooie, and Rayman 2: The Great Escape as examples of inspiration for this game. You will play as Koru traveling across five main levels, taking out the Bleakness, and making sure the color is back in that level. Koru’s main form of attacking the enemies are his fists, and the game uses a battle system similar to Batman: Arkham City. The main gimmicks to the combat are the three colors you can obtain from the spirits. Red is more of an aggressive color and is the one you will be seeing the most of when you attack your enemies. If you are using green attacks, then enemies will run away from you. This is a great color to use if you are surrounded by enemies and thorn bushes, since the enemies will run right into the bushes. Blue will make the enemies sad, and you can come up behind them and destroy them with one punch. Each of the spirits has its own special power, like red can make your attacks stronger, green can stop time, and blue can prevent you from getting hurt by the Bleakness. You can also throw each color for a range attack to take out pesky shooter enemies. Another gameplay mechanic used is the help of a mushroom-like being that will do different actions depending on what color you give him. The mushroom being also has two different forms, and those two different forms have their own unique color ability. For example, want to make the small mushroom take out a horde of enemies by crying? Use the blue attack! Want to make the big mushroom as a battering ram you can ride on? Use the green attack! They actually got clever with the colors and what you could do with them. The game is not very long. It could take you about five or so hours to complete it, but there are unlockables that you can, well, unlock by collecting paint brushes. There is a big-head mode, a black-and-white mode, a tiny-head mode, and you get the idea.
The graphics in The Last Tinker: City of Colors are, for a lack of a better word, colorful. I have heard some people complain that the game is a bit too busy-looking when you are in a level that has the red, blue, and green colors mix together, but I don’t agree with that statement. It’s bright, vibrant, and the overall look of the game has personality. The music sounds like something from India, with a lot of stringed instruments making up most of the soundtrack. I couldn’t find the composer, but whoever did the music did a beautiful job making a gorgeous soundtrack for the game.
Unfortunately, I do need to talk about the game’s faults. My first complaint is that Koru, the main character, isn’t all that interesting to me. He doesn’t really have a personality. He has that dazed look on his face for 90% of the game. I like his design, but he isn’t that developed as a character. I also think that the game, while well-made, is still a little clunky. It almost gets the combat system down, but I still found myself attacking an enemy that I didn’t mean to attack. The platforming can also feel a little weird since you don’t have a jump button. All you do is press the trigger button to run, and you will jump off ledges automatically. It can take a little getting used to before you get comfortable with the controls.
Besides those complaints, I thought The Last Tinker: City of Colors was one of the best indie games of this year. I will definitely put this game up there with Life Goes On, Shovel Knight, and Broken Age as one of the best indie games around. For right now, it is on Steam and PlayStation 4 for about $20 or $15 if you have a PlayStation Plus account. I think it is nice to see a developer take inspiration from a different era of 3D platforming other than from the Nintendo 64. Don’t get me wrong, I am super excited for A Hat in Time, but it’s pleasant to see someone take inspiration from the late Nintendo 64 and PlayStation 2 era. If you’ve got some cash lying around and are looking for a 3D platformer, I would highly recommend you check out The Last Tinker: City of Colors!
This game gets an 8 out of 10.