Game Review: Tiny Hands Adventure (Xbox One)

Inspired by old-school platformers like Crash Bandicoot and Banjo Kazooie, Blue Sunset Games’ Tiny Hands Adventure looks so promising at first. Bright and colourful visuals, an anthropomorphic animal to play as, unique music and a ton of platforming variations across multiple levels.

It looks so promising but is a game that comes unstuck the more you play thanks to bugs galore, a bland story and gameplay elements that frustrate more than they should.

Players take on the role of Borti, a very upbeat T-rex who loves to play football (or soccer for non-Europeans). There’s just one problem, his arms are too short to play in goal. In the world of Dinoburg, Borti meets a magical fairy who promises him new arms but he has to prove he is capable first!

Borti will have to quest through different worlds and levels, defeating bosses and collecting gems to prove himself.

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It’s not much of a story but old-school platformers weren’t exactly renowned for detail and depth. No, where they should excel is with gameplay and while Tiny Hands Adventure certainly provides variety, it misses the mark quite a bit.

There are 20 levels in total all connected by hubs. Jump into one of the portals and the level will start. It might be maze-like levels with a top-down perspective, 2D style levels with comic book visuals, space-themed trips, jungle romps and even Crash Bandicoot-esqe ‘running towards the screen while being chased’ events. There are a ton of different ideas here and most are well designed. Especially when you consider how little originality there is here.

The goal of each level is to reach the end while ensuring you collect the gem required to unlock the boss battle. Each level has 5 additional gems that are hidden or slightly off the beaten path too. Collect all 5 and a harder variation of the level will be unlocked for players to add even more challenge to replays.

Once the boss is unlocked, battle can commence and once defeated, Borti will be rewarded with a new set of arms. Which can be used to gain access to hard-to-reach areas and progress in the game. Arms that turn into a drill, can be used to swing between distant poles or used to traverse deep mud pits.

All of this sounds par for the course for a platformer but the intricate details of gameplay, controlling Borti and maddening one-hit deaths, is where things fall apart. Yes, Borti will die instantly regardless of the enemy he runs into. While he has attacks, the collision detection is poor and many times, attacks will just go through enemies.

This is made all the worse by just how clunky Borti is and how heavy he feels when it comes to complex platforming sections. Many times, you’ll think you have made a jump with ease only to find Bortie fall to his doom. Likewise, when it comes to avoiding obstacles or jumping over a pit.

Perhaps the most frustrating elements of the game though are the boss battles. A handful that ranges from hair-pulling levels of frustrating (the very first boss) to hilariously simple (the final boss). If there is anywhere that you’ll find yourself losing life after life, it is against the poorly designed boss battles.

Which brings us to the bugs. Some nothing more than a minor inconvenience, one that has made the game virtually unplayable. That one involves saving and for some reason, the game refuses to save progress every so often. Multiple times, the game has been loaded back up and it has reverted back to a previous save state. It’s hardly a game that is going to excite the masses let alone when your save file won’t stick.

Then we have the more minor bugs such as the level that was pitch-black and would only fix itself by quitting out and restarting the game. Or the animation for the ‘machine arms’ that doesn’t exist. Instead, it has Borti floating over gaps instead of grabbing hold of the poles.

These bugs would be forgivable if the rest of the game was up to scratch but it just isn’t. It has got some nice colourful visuals and surprisingly strong music but that’s about it. Seasoned players will be able to put up with the issues and have it done in about 2 hours but its target audience (kids) will find it far too frustrating to enjoy for long.




Tiny Hands Adventure
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