The Last Tinker: City of Colors is a game that’s not afraid to borrow from the genre that birthed it. You see kids back in the early days of 3D gaming the platformer genre lead the industry much like first person shooters do today. Many people credit Nintendo’s release of Super Mario 64_in propelling 3D platformers to the top of the charts, but alas, the mighty always fall. As we’ve seen many times before companies will try to capitalize on the success of others and what we ended up with were great games like _Conker’s Bad Fur Day and not so great games like Donkey Kong 64. Developers and publishers put these games out at such a rapid pace that the market became oversaturated and people lost interest. The closest thing we have to these old school 3D platformers today are third person action adventure games like the Uncharted series. It’s a little disappointing then that The Last Tinker doesn’t leave a lasting impression. To be fair, I probably wanted too much and would not have been satisfied either way. Don’t get me wrong, The Last Tinker is not a bad game. Not at all. I just don’t see it spurring enough interest to help revitalize the niche genre.
Right off the bat I loved the art style. It’s bright and colors pop unlike anything released last generation with the exception of the Viva Pinate series. The world is bright and cheerful and the characters are cute. Especially your little sidekick creature named Tap. As I said this game is heavily inspired by some of the top 3D platformers from back in the in the day like Jak and Daxter and Banjo Kazooie . The charming paper craft style of the world and characters reminds me of Tearaway while the heavy emphasis on color within the story reminds me of De Blob. All of those titles being games that I liked and would play again.
The story takes place in the city of Tinkertown where color comes from. The inhabitants are one of three colors: red, green, or blue and they all help in creating dust that in turn creates color. However things aren\’t running smoothly and there is a divide between the three groups causing color production to come to a halt. The Reds are arrogant and feel like they\’re above the Greens and Blues. As you might be able to guess the Greens are cowering in fear from the Reds and the Blues are full of sorrow because no one is getting along. There is a small subset of people within Tinkertown who celebrate color diversity and they aid our heroes Koru and Tap later on. Our main hero doesn\’t know it in the beginning but each color has a spirit with varying abilities. Koru holds the ability to harness these powers comprised of blue attacks that make your enemies more vulnerable in battle, green attacks that send enemies fleeing away from you, and red attacks that are your standard ranged attack.
What stuck me as odd is battling can be satisfying when combining your different attacks to take out large groups of enemies while platforming feels weird. The biggest reason for that is because you can\’t jump……According to an excerpt from the PR email I was sent the game features ‘parkour style gameplay’ aka we made this game easier for the kids so they won’t die as much. That’s disappointing considering I grew up with brutal platformers like Super Mario :The Lost Levels and Mega Man. The difficulty ratchets up a little as you have to time your running and forward momentum in between obstacles. But again in my opinion the battles trump the platforming sections. My other complaint is the audio sounds horrendously compressed the the farmerate drops a lot. This is a next generation gaming console with 8 GB of screaming fast GDDR5 RAM and an 8 core processor so it pains me to see a game like this stutter. UPDATE: A 1.0.1 update was released bringing with it significant performance improvements specifically relating to framerate. Players can run the game at a variable 30-60 fps or lock it at 30. When in 30-60fps mode the game maintains 60 fps pretty consistently. Another welcome addition is 5.1 surround sound. Another nitpick is what feels like a lot of filler missions and side quests that really stray from the main objective of saving Tinkertown.
Taking all of these points and observations in consideration I still recommend this game both for fans of the genre as well as newcomers starting out at a young age. The best parts of The Last Tinker: City of Colors are the world and characters along with the art direction and catchy soundtrack. The worst parts of this game are merely mediocre and nothing that I’d consider a deal breaker. For $20 you can do worse.