A colorful romp with a T-Rex
I’m always up for discovering new video games. They have a way of taking the stress of daily life away even if it’s just for a few minutes. So, when I was introduced to Tiny Hands, a game that features a colorful T-Rex as its main character, I could not pass it up.
Inspired by classics such as Crash Bandicoot, Spyro and Ratchet and Clank, Tiny Hands tells the story of young, cheerful Borti, a T-Rex who wants to play soccer with his school team. His quest begins when he meets a fairy who agrees to grant his wish for longer arms (so he can be a goaltender) if Borti helps her first. As you play through the game, you will collect different tools for Borti to use, fight with bosses, and visit more than 20 stages in the game. Borti is controlled on a computer by using the ASDW keys for movement and various other keys for jumping, rolling, and sliding. The game features 3D graphics and colorful imagery throughout. Tiny Hands will be available starting today on Steam and Nintendo Switch and will be released on PS4 and Xbox One in the near future. The game costs $16.99 on both Steam and Nintendo but for the first 7 days of its launch, Tiny Hands can be purchased at a discount for $12.75.
- OS: Windows 7 / 8 / 10
- Processor: 2.2 GHz dual-core recommended
- Memory: 2 GB RAM
- Graphics: Dedicated GPU Recommended
- Storage: 2500 MB available space
When you first start the game, you play through a basic tutorial level that teaches you the mechanics of the game. I found that not only can you use ASDW as the movement keys, but you can also use the arrow keys. This is not something that is directly pointed out, but at one point I attempted it and I was able to control the character much better that way. The little T-rex is cute and he’s even decked out with a ball cap and backpack for his journeys. After you play the tutorial level, you meet the fairy that assigns you with your task. The odd thing about this scene is that her animated design seemed different from Borti’s. Borti and all the levels you end up playing look and feel like a kid’s 3D game. But the fairy looks like something from Zelda. She’s got a linear face whereas Borti and most of the other characters you come up to are rounded. It just doesn’t seem like the animations always match throughout the game.
I really like the soundtrack of the game. I feel as though there is a really fun mix of genres (it’s all instrumental) and the music seems to fit the theme of the level. For example, one level is alien themed so the music has a sci-fi sort of feel to it. It’s techno mixed with pop and it’s a lot of fun. The music really adds a lot to Tiny Hands.
Now, I understand that the target market for this game is children and youth but I think the story of the game is a little off. I like the characterization of Borti and that he is humanized somewhat, but I feel as though the reason he wants longer arms and stronger hands is a little out of place. If it was because he wanted to play basketball or baseball — a sport that requires a good reach — it would make more sense to me. But Borti wants to play soccer — a game that is largely based on running and kicking. That’s really the only place that Tiny Hands fell flat for me.
The structure of the game is good. When you end a level, you go back to a neutral plain where you move to another level. It’s nice that you have the choice of where you want to play next instead of automatically being beamed to the next level. This neutral plain sort of reminds me of the cantina zone in Lego Star Wars where you can select which Episode of the movie series you want to play. Tiny Hands has a similar method of allowing the player to select their levels.
Tiny Hands is addicting but can be a little aggravating. It’s fun to play but challenging. If you die in the level, you start back at the beginning of it. So, as you are learning to control Borti, you might run into a lot of fails along the way. There were several times where I would get frustrated and put the game down vowing never to play it again. Then, five minutes later, I would start playing again — hoping that I would beat the level that next time.
Tiny Hands is a satisfying adventure game with a lovable character. I’d love to see the story developed in a slightly different way, but think the gameplay and colorful boards make up for any shortcomings in that area. Tiny Hands is a challenging, enjoyable game for all ages. I had the opportunity to play it on both PC and Nintendo Switch. I have to say that the game was more fun on the Switch because Borti was easier to control. The joystick/button combo was more familiar to me than PC gaming keyboard controls and therefore, I had a better experience on the Switch. I can recommend Tiny Hands to anyone looking for a fun, carefree game.