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The Last Tinker: City of Colors review: A perfectly charming, family friendly platformer

Hayden Dingman | Dec. 11, 2014
There was a time in the late 90s or early 2000s when The Last Tinker: City of Colors would've been a blockbuster game. It was a time when mascot-driven platformers ruled consoles. Super Mario 64, Banjo-Kazooie, Rayman, Beyond Good & Evil, Crash Bandicoot, Jak and Daxter--they were everywhere.

Yeah, it's not exactly the most complex story, nor the most veiled of analogies. It's basically a kid's game, after all. The way it's all presented is charming though, with the different segments of the city featuring decidedly different vibes. The Reds are angry and warmongering so their district is all fire and spears, for instance, while the fearful Greens have covered every available surface in security cameras.

And I mean presented in the physical sense also. Colortown, and Tinkerworld in general, is a place built from craft materials. It's paper, glue, cardboard, and paint. When people "talk" in their gibberish language, the words are written in chalk on floating cardboard speech bubbles.

You're basically playing through a claymation film, like a technicolor version of Chicken Run. The aesthetic is definitely pulling most of the weight in this game, with charming octopuses and a sun that goes to sleep at night to become the moon and even a Bob Ross reference.

The soundtrack is similarly spectacular, with different themes for each area and a few music-based areas that take full advantage of the wonderful orchestration. My favorite was a twangy guitar theme, but all of the tracks are solid.

Bottom line

It's just charming, okay?

If you're tired of browns and greys, the drab color palette of most modern games, this is the perfect antidote to gently glide through over the course of a few nights. The Last Tinker's not difficult for an adult who's reasonably familiar with games, but I can't deny I enjoyed playing it.

Yes, I wish it was a real platformer instead of an auto-jump game, and I think the final boss needed tuning (or at least some checkpoints). This is one to toss on the shelf for the kids though, and then pull down late at night after they've gone to bed because damn it, you want to play too.


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