When Amanita Design's Samorost or Machinarium meets a smart, non-formulatic hidden object game, The Tiny Bang Story is the beautiful result. A point-and-click puzzle game at heart, this charming release from Colibri Games will hook you from the start, keeping your eyes busy and your cursor mobile from the opening screen all the way to the very end. It's a stunning and very memorable game that will make you wish more games followed its careful design concepts.
The bucolic Tiny Planet was just hovering happily along, looking all peaceful and serene with its babbling brooks, patchwork machines, and scattering of quietly content inhabitants. Then an asteroid shatters and drops its pieces across the planet, splitting it apart into a massive jigsaw puzzle. Now, it's your job to put everything back together, traveling from location to location, picking up jigsaw pieces and assembling machines to help you rebuild the world.
Each part of The Tiny Bang Story is filled with hand-drawn art, depicting imaginative contraptions and scenes that could have been pulled out of the most dreamy children's book ever released. By clicking on things you can discover puzzles, indicated by the cursor changing to a gear. When you find an incomplete part of the stage, a small inventory icon will appear on the side of the screen. These icons show a number along with the item you need to find. So, for example, you might need to locate ten gears, 15 lightbulbs, one wrench, etc. Find the items, return to the screen with the puzzle, and put things back together to see what happens!
Finding items is the main focus of the game, but don't confuse The Tiny Bang Story with your run-of-the-mill hidden object release. Items aren't hidden, camouflaged, scaled to ridiculous proportions, or turned almost invisible. Instead, they're hidden right in front of your eyes, rotated and scaled to fit logically into the scene. Look across several areas as you search for the many items you need. And don't forget to click the blue bugs to charge your hint meter!
After you've found the puzzle pieces and beaten the level, you'll return to the main view of the planet to assemble the jigsaw puzzle. If you've played a casual game before, you'll probably expect a simple sort of jigsaw where pieces snap to each other when they're within breathing distance, right? Not so, here. This is a for-real jigsaw puzzle, and it requires you to take some time to solve. But, you know what? It's stupendously enjoyable!
Analysis: The Tiny Bang Story is a relatively low-key game, but it's that subtlety that makes it so very very good. There's no dialogue, no text to read, no cutscenes or other gimmicky inclusions to force-feed you anything. It's just a simple story and simple gameplay, all baked together and prepared with mountains of love and attention. It's obvious Colibri Games spent a lot of time getting The Tiny Bang Story just right. When you try out the demo, you'll see how far that goes in making a game like this stand out from the crowd.
The Tiny Bang Story never hands you the answers, so you actually have to put in some legwork to get things done. Items don't jump out at you, puzzles don't solve themselves, and even the hint system requires a bit of work. In order to charge the button, you must collect floating bugs that hover around the screen. This discourages players from spamming the hint key and makes everyone slow down and experience this wonderful game for all it's worth.
Games like The Tiny Bang Story aren't a common occurrence in the video gaming world. So, when you see something this beautiful, this engaging, and this playable, grab it right away. The Tiny Bang Story is a phenomenal game that everyone should experience from beginning to satisfying end!