The Last Tinker: City of Colors

There's no regretting passing through the world of The Last Tinker: City of Colors .

By Daavpuke, Posted 09 May 2014

Going back to a simpler time can be tough for games, now that the medium has grown, but it’s exactly what The Last Tinker: City of Colors does, without that pandering “retro” genre. No, this platform adventure offers a light journey, while somehow also using a dark undertone that deals with intolerance and anxiety. And just like its different complexions, each region offers its own gameplay style. This world is both captivating and versatile, from start to finish.

The Last Tinker: City of Colors,Review,PC,Steam,Unity,Indie,Platform,Adventure,Racism,Anxiety

Since the title deals with colors as a theme, The Last Tinker: City of Colors is in big part an audiovisual experience. Highly detailed models of cute, bouncy characters populate a cardboard environment with bright, sugary finish. Every inch of this shiny realm gets accompanied by a different score and unique sound effects, from big orchestrated numbers, to classical guitar, but even just xylophone notes with each step the protagonist takes with rhythmical swagger. Hopping from one stone to the next almost sounds like its own song. Mixing that with the blushing locations is frequently refreshing, even in darker settings.

There’s a problem in Colortown, because that’s what this place is called, of course. Its people have become divided into different shades and a bleakness descends on the land. Only one person, Koru, can stop this with the power of colors. There’s going to be a lot of color mentioning.

Anyway, Koru must travel through the themed regions of this city and discover the secrets of its many different districts, from the industrious reds to the depressing blues. This is done by jumping on stepping stones, gliding over rails and by balancing tightropes. It has this grand sense of adventure by always leading to a path that spurs momentum. Go, go, little one; there are things to be seen! Better yet, most platform sections are automated, which facilitates the rhythmical sounds from jumps to sync appropriately to a beat.  Its cadence drives in this advancing design even further.

The Last Tinker: City of Colors,Review,PC,Steam,Unity,Indie,Platform,Adventure,Racism,Anxiety

When not looking over the area for new places to reach, gameplay is either divided into individual puzzle genres or combat scenes. Action has easy controls, quite like the platform system. Combos are easily strung together, with a possibility to dodge whenever an opponent phones in an attack. Foes come in a few sizes with giants later in the game providing a decent challenge in between mobs. These bigger baddies have to be taken down with an appropriate string of colors, which normally hold a particular power that can be used against other units. For instance, green makes people run away, while blue saddens others to the point of total lethargy. With a few purchasable moves as the story progresses, the combat system is just big enough to change it up during fights. As blows automatically connect, like in the Batman Arkham games, it’s also a breeze to perform. That way, the attention can be spent on trying to plan out which types to take out first.

The Last Tinker: City of Colors,Review,PC,Steam,Unity,Indie,Platform,Adventure,Racism,Anxiety
Both colorful and yet bleak; exactly what the game's story calls for.

Puzzles though; that’s where The Last Tinker: City of Colors really brings it home. Every section of the game is its own little gameplay design. Frequently, this is prompted by simple fetch quests, but the use of many genres that arch over it makes up for it in spades. Some districts focus on exploration, others manipulate time. Then, just because, there’s a detective area in true noir fashion, complete with saxophone background. Rarely is there so much repetition in the puzzle element that it feels like a chore. Even during boss battles, most challenges have their own hook, which stands on its own. That’s what makes a grand adventure. Not one part of the game feels the same. Each new thing to enjoy is an actual new thing.

The Last Tinker: City of Colors,Review,PC,Steam,Unity,Indie,Platform,Adventure,Racism,Anxiety

Just walking around and taking in this universe can be pleasing by itself. Wide-eyed inhabitants reflect on their troubles and that of the decaying world, revealing their societal issues. Some are angry at alternate colors, while others fear contact with the outside. This freely dispensed dialogue slips some tough topics within this family-friendly title, which is perfect to educate younger audiences. It can be difficult to explain to someone the flaws of racism or having to live with anxiety. In The Last Tinker: City of Colors, this is simply done by living in its world. It may seem unconscious, but the illustrative examples are sure to at least leave a trace of themselves that can be built upon by using them as a reference point. It also makes this world more complex than just another “save the world” tale.

The Last Tinker: City of Colors,Review,PC,Steam,Unity,Indie,Platform,Adventure,Racism,Anxiety
Isn't it just the worst?

Platform adventure The Last Tinker: City of Colors has a story interesting to know and even more stimulating to witness. With a rich world so crisp in detail and with charming tunes, it’s an inviting universe that has variable gameplay elements to renew this sense of wonder at every turn. It’s a must for anyone who is tired of relying on ever-expanding scopes throwing out dozens of gimmicks in favor of padding. Live this; this is pure.

Daav Valentaten, NoobFeed (@Daavpuke)

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General Information

Platform(s): PC
Publisher(s): Unity Games
Developer(s): Mimimi Productions
Genres: Action, Adventure
Themes: Fantasy
Release Date: 2014-07-15

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