The Last Tinker: City of Colors

Hands-on with this bright and bold adventure.

The Last Tinker: City of Colors drops players into the platform-hopping shoes of Koru, an agile, free-running simian tasked with returning Colortown to its previous greatness. It’s an adventure that creates a strong impression from the outset, evoking the PS Vita’s Tearaway with its vibrant world and whimsical characters. Possibly designed for those sick of the muted colours found in today’s more realistic titles, the game goes all out when it comes to presentation, which may well turn out to be its greatest selling point.

The intro does a solid job of introducing players to Colortown’s general vibe and the many denizens therein. It’s bright, bustling and ripe for exploration, though you’ll spend the first hour or so learning the ropes and performing basic techniques to prepare for the road ahead. This largely consists of running around town, leaping between platforms, speaking with townsfolk and even a bit of rail-grinding for good measure. Boxes can be broken with basic melee attacks, but you’ll soon learn how to move while attacking to hit numerous foes and dodge incoming blows.

Before anything else, Koru’s tasked with collecting enough cash to enter the big race. Controller mode comes supported, and The Last Tinker benefits fully from the ‘shoulder button’ control scheme – surprising as it sounds, the game takes its cues from Assassin’s Creed where running and climbing are concerned. Movement has been made as simple as possible for children and casual players, and there’s even a ‘kid’ difficulty setting available. It’s tough to judge given the relatively short time offered by the preview build, but it seems like The Last Tinker will have something for anyone not obsessed with explosions or big-budget set-piece events.

It’s not without a dose of creativity either. One section entails coaxing a giant creature named Biggs over to mushroom patches to activate them, eventually shrinking him down so he can reach new areas. Characters talk through speech bubbles and make all kinds of chirping noises; in this respect however, some might argue that the lack of true voice work is too old-school for a game releasing in 2014.

Koru’s sidekick Tap is both extremely cute and rather handy when it comes to exploring the world, as a press of a button will send him flying off into the direction of the next objective. The demo ended when Tap was injured by a rival of Koru’s (not far removed from kicking a puppy!), highlighting the need to cure the world of the ‘bleakness’ that will turn its inhabitants against each other. The hero will reportedly have access to a number of colour-based moves needed to defeat the various enemy types, so it’s a shame that was left out of the preview entirely.

It’s hard not to be somewhat enamored with The Last Tinker: City of Colors on some level. The snippet of game world in the preview did a great job of setting the scene for events to come, characters are cutesy and the whole package comes across as harmless in every respect. It’s safe to say that you won’t find a dark tale full of adult themes and intense combat, but maybe that’s exactly what gaming could do with right now. Fans of stylized adventures might be on to a real winner with The Last Tinker, in all its old-hat glory and carefree adventuring. The game’s not going to set the world on fire when it hits later in the year, but having played the intro and found it thoroughly charming… you can colour me interested.