Tink – Preview
Over the last couple of years, as realistic and gritty shooters have enjoyed a boom in popularity, it’s hard to escape the feeling that the colour is draining from gaming. All too often games are proudly exhibited with the best new graphics, but with a sullen pallet of greys, browns and greens. There are exceptions of course, with Borderlands and Viva Piñata foremost among them, but they are the exceptions that prove the rule. Thankfully however, this year’s Gamescom has provided an influx of bright and colourful games. Sony showed off Tearaway and Puppeteer at their conference, and games like Borderlands 2 have demonstrated that the obsession with colourless and dull game worlds may finally be coming to an end.
As nice as it is to see games abandoning drab greens and browns, it’s even better to see a game that uses colours in a rather unique way. Enter Tink, a game about… well, Tink. He’s the hero of Tinkerworld, where colour and creativity is of vital importance; it lives and thrives on the imagination of its inhabitants and the projects that they create. Unfortunately, all is not well in the world, and when discord ferments among the inhabitants and they stop all their creative endeavours, things begin to go very wrong; whiteness begins to steal over Tinkerworld, eating away at the colours and life.
Enter Tink, a young boy who sets out to save the world from the encroaching whiteness. To do this he makes use of Tinkerworld’s three main colours: red, blue and green to solve puzzles and defeat his enemies – physical manifestations of the whiteness. In combat you use these colours to effect your enemies in various ways. Red is the colour of anger and does damage to your foes, as well as provokes them to attempt to damage you; green does the opposite, scaring them off but inflicting no damage; blue stuns them for while but, similarly to the green, does no damage.
Outside of combat, colours are used to progress through the world. The movement and platforming of Tink is fluid and has been compared to the free running in the Assassin’s Creed games, although I’m more inclined to compare it to some of the classic platformers of the nineties and titles such as Crash Bandicoot – it has the same floaty quality to the jumps and movement, and, despite being a little more tactical in terms of the colour usage, the combat is also very similar. That’s not a bad thing of course. There’s a reason that the platformers of the nineties remain so iconic, and though I’m not by any means suggesting that this game will achieve the same popularity as they did, it’s certainly doing many of the right things.
The gameworld is what sets it so far apart from many other similar platformers; Tinkerworld has a unique feel, because the idea is that it is built by its inhabitants, which means that there is a bizarrely organic feel to a world that is, in essence, a fabricated construction. It also lends the game wonderful colour, and it’s impressive to see just how much life has been breathed into a world built of clay and cardboard, just by the profusion of colours that are present. In fact, it’s unsurprising to hear that it is these colours that are truly what make the game; the world would be completely lifeless without the depths of colour that have been invested into it, despite the happily bizarre style. On top of that, there would be a similar lack of life and intensity present in the combat and platforming.
Although the sort of colours that proliferate Tink are not exactly fashionable – and to be honest, neither is the style of game – it still looks like fun. It’s bright enough to require sunglasses for a safe play-through, and more than interesting enough to look like you’ll need to play it for plenty of hours. The strategic side of the combat is a nice little addition that instantly provides depth for people looking for it, and the idea of a world slowly draining of colour is a world that I want to save.
Tink is definitely a game for the future rather than the present. Despite impressing many at the Game Connection Europe contest and receiving a lot of help from the people over at Sony, developers Mimimi Productions are strapped for cash, which is slowing down production. They’ve turned to Gambitious.com to get the money that they need to get the game out, so there’s no telling when it will actually be released. It’s certainly one to watch, though the jury is out over whether the game will be able to pull off everything that it is promising.
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