The PS4 is a brand new console and with it comes some new content. One of the first PSN releases for the system is Tiny Brains. After putting some time into it and trying out the online components, Tiny Brains is a relatively fun experience, but for the price, it may be asking a little too much.
Tiny Brains puts players into the lives of four animals with unique abilities. They were experiments created by a mad scientist who hopes to make it big in the science world. These four creatures are a rabbit that can create a vortex to pull objects, a bat that can force push things, a mouse that can teleport and switch places with objects and a gerbil (I think) that can create ice blocks which can hold objects in place or create a step to reach higher places. These four combine their powers to make it out of the twisted scientist’s lab by going through his insane maze of puzzles and traps.
Tiny Brains can be played either solo or co-op, both online and local. After a few levels with it solo, players will instantly see this game was made with co-op in mind. Playing solo requires some fast maneuvering and finesse, and when some failures end with having to go back to the start of the area, it can get rather tedious. But for the players wanting a solo challenge, they can switch out their characters on the fly. One thing that did help out a good amount was using a power and then switching characters; time slows down significantly for a short period allowing the player to move where they need to and use another power while things are still going on. It’s a nice touch that helps out a lot when playing alone.
The co-op is where the fun really begins. With four players moving and coordinating with each other on certain puzzles, the game clicks and feels like a well-oiled machine. Granted, this is only if the co-op partners are competent. It can be frustrating trying to play with random people online only to have them hinder more than help.
The game breaks down into three main puzzle types. The first is the standard “hit a switch to open the door” puzzle. Here, combining powers to move certain objects to switches and moving batteries to power a toggle is the name of the game. These feel more like a stop, think and plan puzzle.
The second type is one that requires teamwork to move a ball around to get it into a switch. These require the player/players to use their powers to move the ball while trying not to let it fall off the edge of the platforms. Making the ball go around corners and up hills can become a frustrating challenge to the player that decides to solo these puzzles mainly due to the fact that if the ball does fall, it teleports back to the beginning of the area or the last checkpoint, which means a good amount of progress can be lost.
The final type is not really a puzzle at all. During some of the areas, the player is tasked with defending a pink baby chick from being attacked by regular baby chicks and full grown beastly chickens. Here, players must hit the enemies with ice blocks or force push them off the edge of the arenas. It tries to mix up the things players do to keep from getting too stale.
There are also cheese wedges that can be collected throughout the main story. These help unlock new challenge missions players can take on. These are fairly short, but offer up a leader board to keep people invested in getting the best score/time possible.
There is also a mode called “Tiny Soccer” where teams of two versus two use all the powers to create a chaotic soccer game. This mode is actually really fun. Force pushing the other team while trading places with them using teleport was a blast. It can get very hectic, but luckily, players must allow for their powers to recharge before using them again so it keeps down the spamming of the powers.
The look is a rather colorful art style. It has a very cartoony look to it mixed with some light dark humor. The mad scientist is constantly talking to the players and it all tries to be comical. Usually it falls flat on its face. I think I cracked a smile once.
Tiny Brains was a pretty fun romp through a few puzzles. It is definitely aimed to the co-op play and I highly suggest that if you’re going to dig through it, play with some other people. It can get frustrating on your own. The mini games offer up some variety and fun, but with a price of $20, it is a little steep. Still, if you have some friends over or some online buddies that have the game and want to have a decent time solving puzzles while trying not to kill one another, Tiny Brains offers some decent fun.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.