By Alec Meer on April 1st, 2010 at 12:07 am.
“You play a character with a giant laser beam and a grapple on a quest for a pair of underpants,” explains the kindly gentleman who tipped us off to the prototype/demo of episodic physics-platformer Tiny & Big: Up That Mountain. Yeah, I’ll bite. And I’m very glad I did. Sure, there are tons of games featuring laser beams – but none of ‘em allow you to slice 100-foot pillars into tiny pieces.
Playing as Tiny, who is big, you’re in pursuit of Big, who is tiny, and has stolen your undercrackers. Not for sexy reasons, however – they enable to bearer to teleport all over the place. To hunt the boxer-swiping little bugger, Tiny needs an alternative method of traversing impassable terrain. To whit, his giant laser. By lasering the various blocks and pillars littered around the demo’s rather attractive hand-drawn, cell-shaded world (someone will probably say this isn’t technically cell-shading. To them I say: I bet you’re fun at parties), he creates new routes. Stepping stones across a treacherous gulf, ramps up to clifftops, paths through blockages… A laser! A laser that can bifurcate mountains!
He can also deploy a grappling hook to stack smaller blocks or tug vast ones out of the way. This adds agreeably to the puzzleability, but is less fun than the lasering, purely because any game with a grappling hook in it is going to stand in the tall shadow of Just Cause 2. The laser’s the star – while you can only use it on certain parts of the environment, the degree to which you can slice’n'dice them is incredible. It’s possible there’ll be limited diversity in terms of puzzle types this will allow, but certainly in the space of the demo it’s enormously entertaining to just prat about, trashing everything you can.
I have to say the jumping’s a little on the sucky side in this demo, with the jittery controls causing me to repeat some sections a few too many times. I may have sworn, just a little bit. Keep in mind this is an early build, though: no doubt the ten-strong indie dev Black Pants Studio (from the mean streets of Kassel, Germany) have big huge gobbets of spit’n'polish to apply in the run up to the full game’s mooted August release. The English dialogue could do with a clean-up too, but that must be the least of their priorities at this stage, and can certainly wait. I think this is lovely, and potentially spectacular. Do try the demo, but if you’re afraid to leave the warm, unsettlingly clammy arms of RPS, here are some videos:
ZOT! SMASH! CRACK!