Tiny & Big: Grandpa’s Leftovers Review

Ever dream of the day when a set of underwear could grant someone God-like powers of catastrophic proportions? No? Well, thankfully Black Pants Studios has us covered anyway. This Germany-based developer’s latest efforts, Tiny & Big: Grandpa’s Leftovers, is a non-sensical, puzzle-platforming romp around treacherous heights in the hopes of getting back a pair of magical underpants that have been stolen from you.

Players take control of Tiny, a spry young inventor with a ray gun, grappling hook and rocket launcher at his disposal. Big, who’s stolen Tiny’s underpants, has let the power of the garment corrupt and empower himself to the point where Big no longer sees the world rationally, which leads Tiny on a mission to return them and unveil a dark mystery surrounding them.

Upon starting the main game, players are thrust into an easy-to-understand tutorial in the game’s three prevalent gameplay mechanics: grappling (pulling blocks from a distance), rocketing (attaching a thrust engine to blocks to push them away) and using a ray gun (cutting blocks down to size). For the most part the mechanics work well, especially the first two mentioned. Utilising the ray gun on the other hand can sometimes prove tricky. Using a 360 controller was my personal preference, and aside from some odd default button placements felt fine.

As a puzzle-platformer, Grandpa’s Leftovers is often quite fun. The times it isn’t is either because the path ahead isn’t quite so clear, or you’re required to use your ray gun hastily – such as the end boss fight. Solving platforming puzzles by cutting down obstacles feels great when it works though, and hopefully this is the start of a new series with which improvements can be made.

Graphically the game looks good, and sports an art style that’s reminiscent of something like Cartoon Network’s ‘Adventure Time’. It even has its hand at some humour, despite its later grim revelations in story. What helps set this game apart from others visually is its use of onomatopoeia when interacting with the environment, which is a refreshing aspect not often found in games. For those on the look out for something extra, the game also has some hidden mini-games that hold a visually pleasing original GameBoy 3D style complete with dull yellow and black. In terms of sound design, Grandpa’s Leftovers also wields a fun soundtrack filled with catchy tunes.

As a whole, the game is a fun little platformer with some great ideas. Though a little short (around three or four hours if you just plow through) the title doesn’t overstay its welcome, and culminates in an interesting final level that’s quite different to the pacing of the rest of the game. Despite the ending not really leaving things completely satisfiied – and to be honest, feels rather silly – it’s well worth a play, if you can look past some technical/design flaws.

Tiny & Big: Grandpa’s Leftovers was developed and published by Black Pants Studio. A PC copy was provided for the purpose of review.

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