Slice World: Tiny & Big

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!

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21 Comments »

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  1. Vinraith says:

    on a quest for a pair of underpants

    Now that’s what I call motivation.

  2. Brumisator says:

    I know it’s sad to say, but placeholder sounds really hurt my ears, it breaks the whole illusion of a wonderful, new game.

  3. Javier-de-Ass says:

    oh yeah. that second video. very good

  4. Tei says:

    I *DEMAND* this long laser blade in BC2. NOW.

  5. Ubiquitous says:

    That looks awsome, definitely going to check it out. Thanks RPS.

  6. Premium User Badge

    Lambchops says:

    Saw the Volcano preview when it was posted on TIGS. My initial thoughts were “cool lazer,” swiftly followed by “hooray for awesome damage” swiftly followed by “this is going to need a lot of polish though” swiftly followed by “the puzzles could be a tad repetitive” closely followed by “plus they could be horrendously finicky – I’m supposed to judge the right size of slice to get across chasms and have them all fall nicely into place? That could so easily go wrong” swiftly followed by “shut up brain . . . look at the cool laser. Laser good.”
    So in short, looks like it could be promising but if not handled right it could make for a frustrating game.
    Still I’ll give the demo a shot tomorrow and form an opinion that isn’t just based on a video!

    • Wulf says:

      Please do!

      I originally saw this on TIGS as well (I still stop by there occasionally), and I went through pretty much the exact chain of thoughts that you did, blow for blow. So I’d be very interested to hear on your take.

      I’d try the demo myself, but I have far too much to get through all ready. Eesh, the amount of stuff that’s installed on my poor lappy that I still need to complete.

  7. Gabe says:

    Original
    Sure, there are tons of games featuring laser beams – but none of ‘em allow you to slice 100-foot pillars into tiny pieces.

    Version 1.2
    Sure, there are tons of games featuring laser beams – but none of ‘em allow you to slice 100-foot pillars into tiny pieces… COMPLETE WITH 60’s BATMAN-ESQUE EXCLAMATIONS!

    ;-)

  8. Spoon says:

    Just finished the demo/beta thing. Some decent fun, and great style, but the controls could be tighter. Also, like lambchops said above, they will need to get creative on this one to avoid tedium / finicky puzzles reliant on absolute perfection.

  9. St4ud3 says:

    Also finished the demo. The better term would be proof of concept. While it is fun for a short while they really need to fix some things. The movement is really bad and there seem to be some collision errors. And while I had fun playing the demo, i cant imagine playing this for more than 1-2 hours unless they get really creative with the puzzles.

    Great concept, execution is a bit off, but it’s only a demo and I’m really hoping they make a good game out of it.

    • Premium User Badge

      Lambchops says:

      Having played the demo I’d concurwith St4ud3’s thoughts above. The movement (particularly jumping) needs to be tightened up somewhat. Id be pretty hopefull that they can get quite creative with the puzzles but if it’s polished up I could easily see myself spending a few quid for a couple of hours game – they seem like an inventive bunch and I reckon they’d come up with some cool new ideas inbetween episodes. I’d definately rather see short sharp bursts with some fresh puzzles rather than trying to drag the mechanic out for longer than its lifespan.

      I’m also with SpinalJack about using the grapple to save yourself. Swinging back up is hard and it could do with some retractableness. Might be a tricky thing to balance though as if you had a retractable grapple then that would negate the need for laser in many of the puzzles and the laser is the selling point!

      Label under promising.

  10. Mungrul says:

    Regarding Just Cause 2 and grappling hooks, I found something niggling away at me while playing. It just didn’t seem right.
    Then I fired up last year’s Bionic Commando and realised that the JC2 grapple pales when compared to the bionic arm. I know everyone seemed to hate Bionic Commando, but the arm just clicked for me, and is the measure I gauge all such things against.
    I can have endless hours of fun just flinging hapless goons into the distance with BC’s arm.

    When I go back to JC2 after having played BC, I find I’m stifled by the absence of the zip attack or the ability to throw stuff with the grapple. Sure, the ability to join two objects together using the grapple is interesting, but it’s still not as fun as hefting a police car at a soldier, or indeed, a soldier at a soldier.

  11. SpinalJack says:

    Great game idea. Having had a go I instinctively used the grapple to save myself from falls and then swing back up to a safe ledge which works to a degree only the game puts arbitrary and invisible death zones around the place so you don’t get the freedom to swing about. Also having a retractable wire would have been nice.

  12. protospork says:

    It’s more of a “how can I do this so the game doesn’t crash” puzzle than anything else :(

    But if they can fix the crashing and the inability to cross tiny bumps without coming to a full stop and jumping straight up, they’ll have a nice game and possibly a handful of my money.

  13. Premium User Badge

    Richard Beer says:

    Yay! I always wanted a Stubb gun. Ever since that team of Judges resisting the Soviet occupation sliced through that giant road junction with one and it overheated. Dantanna junction? Something like that.

  14. Premium User Badge

    Hodge says:

    I tried this about a week ago, and agree with what everyone’s said. It looks amazing and the ‘grappling laser of cuttiness’ mechanic works so well you wonder why it hasn’t been done a hundred times before.

    But it’s really early days and none of it quite works yet. The controls and collision detection are way off, and even the levels themselves felt like proof-of-concept placeholders. It’s interesting that they’ve chosen to release a public build this early on, as it’s basically not playable yet.

    Could turn out to be a keeper though… will be keeping an eye on this one.

  15. clippa says:

    Wow! I love this SOOOO much. The artwork is gorgeous. Brimming with potential. Just that short demo was great fun. I’ll be throwing money at this as soon as it’s out.