The Tiny Bang Story Engages with Relaxing Visual Puzzle Experience
The iOS has grown significantly as a gaming platform because of its broad appeal to casual gamers. Most notably are point-and-click adventure games because of the inherent advantages that come with the touch interface. One such game is The Tiny Bang Story by Colibri Games which combines a variety of elements including point-and-click, hidden items and mini puzzles to create a whimsical gaming experience. A game that tests the powers of observation and deductive reasoning, Tiny Bang is a charming little world that gamers will want to check out even though the stop may only be a brief one.
The story though only surface deep involves a world called Tiny Planet, a tranquil and relaxing place that one day gets blown to pieces by an asteroid. The objective is to rebuild this wonderful place by locating pieces and solving puzzles among the different environments before putting everything back in their rightful places.
Tiny Bang is all about the experience which in this case is about the peaceful confines. The Myst-like atmosphere doesnít force players to adhere to time limits or rush through puzzles for a solution. As a matter of fact, itís about taking the time to enjoy what youíre doing at your own pace. The backdrops are beautiful to look at which is a good thing since youíll spend your time staring at them. The scenes are creative and imaginative in the world they present. The soundtrack (which can be downloaded for free at www.colibrigames.com) establishes that pace with an almost hypnotically calming tone that accompanies players through the various scenes.
The game itself is broken up into 5 chapters each containing a number of puzzles and hidden objects. While this is not a heavily animated game, the scenes are amazingly detailed and as wonderful as the soundtrack. The devs have created a charming world that players will enjoy even while theyíre scouring the scenes for hidden pieces.
Besides the great scenery which looks great on an iPad, what distinguishes Tiny Bang from other games in the genre is the presentation. The first thing players will notice is lack of text. There isnít any during gameplay which forces players to observe and assume. Literally, the puzzles run the gamut from simply finding and collecting pieces to solving logic brainteasers. The scope of puzzles is varied so that shouldnít be an issue. One puzzle involves hand-coordinated movements, while others involve aligning items to access another area. Others require a bit more reasoning and logic such as solving math-related riddles or shutting off valves to turn off flowing water. Each of the individual puzzles by themselves isnít overly difficult, but figuring out where and how to apply the solutions can be.
A series of tiles appear that show items and the number of them that need to be found. This series will change as players come upon different scenarios. Collecting pieces is done simply by tapping on them, while dragging them to desired areas will put them into use.
Once thatís done, then players are further confronted with those ďsolutionsĒ in order to continue on. For example, one puzzle involves collecting bottles of glue and then determining where to apply that glue which then opens up another puzzle. In this situation, itís a puzzle that requires assembling a picture from a number of assorted pieces. Players will often be collecting pieces in order to find others which only open up other scenes and mysteries to address. Making observations and reading between the linesÖthatís really what makes Tiny Bang so engaging.
The game isnít without clues, and this goes back to how Tiny Bang is presented. There is a hint button and a view button that offer subtle visual clues such as highlighting areas that can be accessed. Also, while traveling through Tiny Planet, players will meet the residents this world. Tapping on them brings up a thought bubble with a clue on how to move on. The personality of the game shines through in those interactions.
While the use of visual cues over text is what forms the personality and charm of the game, it can also be frustrating. Billed as a relaxing environment, figuring out what to do next can be challenging to say the least. The hint system is bare bones and fairly limited which means outside of solving a puzzle or locating a walkthrough online, youíre stuck. The characters that players meet are one-dimensional which I think is a missed opportunity to further expand the game. In some ways, the storyline couldíve also been utilized a bit more to provide more depth to the game in general. Iíd estimate that the game would provide a few hours of play but not much replayability which is typical of this genre.
Tiny Bang is a great looking game that brings its own personality to the genre. The puzzles and brainteasers are varied and arenít overly difficult by themselves. The beautiful soundtrack and wonderfully detailed environments make Tiny Bang a worthwhile experience.
Albie Meter: 4 Stars (personality-laden puzzler presented through great soundtrack and visuals; varied puzzles not overly difficult, but lack of hint system can be frustrating; relaxing, self-paced game with no time limits; should provide a few hours of play with limited replay value; iPad only with a lite version also available)