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.
And The Last Tinker, with its vaguely human protagonist and colorful claymation art style, would've been quite a spectacle.
The 3D platformer boom times are gone, but all that really means is that The Last Tinker hasn't gotten the attention it deserves. And it deserves quite a bit of attention, because this is a great (if simple) game.
The Last Tinker looks like a kid's game, and it could be a kid's game. It's definitely pretty simple as far as "platformers" go. In fact, I almost hate to strap that genre onto it because it's not really a platformer. Jumping occurs more like Assassin's Creed's free-running or Zelda's auto-jump — there's no dedicated button for it. You just sort of reach the end of a platform and then leap off it onto the next one, or fall off if there's nothing waiting.
This lends itself to very fluid, fast-paced animations and some clever grinding sections reminiscent of Jet Set Radio or some of the 3D Sonic games, but it also makes the game damn simple. If you're coming to this expecting the challenge of even Mario 64 (not a terribly hard game) then you're going to be disappointed. There are also a handful of easy puzzles to break up the pacing, but if you're at all familiar with games they won't exactly leave you scratching your head.
But The Last Tinker sort of lulls you into a rhythm that's pleasant, if not difficult, and it ends up feeling like a miniature version of some bigger games. Combat even has a Batman: Arkham Asylum flow to it that I never would've expected, and there are the expected tributes to classic platformers — objects that explode into currency when hit, collectible hidden in corners, and a silent-but-still-somehow-emotive main character.
You play as the titular last of the Tinkers, Koru, a monkey-boy who lives in the multi-hued city of Colortown. Or at least, parts of it are multi-hued — the parts that aren't infested by a bunch of racists.
The Red, Green, and Blue districts of Colortown used to live in harmony, but over time that's collapsed and now all three districts live in big walled ghettos to keep the other two groups away. The only part of the city that's still unified is the Market District, which is where Koru resides. If only there were some way of reuniting the city, perhaps through some sort of world-ending disaster...
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