Tiny Brains for PlayStation 4 (Review)

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I’m a fan of puzzle games, especially ones where you can jump right into when you have time and just solve a few levels here and there for a quick game fix. I’m also a fan of co-op games whether it be online or local co-op, though the number of local co-op games are few and far between on many current and next gen consoles. In fact, I can’t even think of one game that comes to mind lately where I can play with a friend or family member that isn’t a fighting game or a sports game on the same console. For that reason, it usually takes me a while before I even consider picking up a second controller on most of the consoles I’ve bought and the PlayStation 4 was no exception. All the games I own on it are currently single player only or feature online multiplayer with no local player co-op.

That’s why I was excited when I heard about Tiny Brains from Spearhead Games. It’s an indie title that meets a lot of my criteria for fun. It’s a challenging puzzle game with great graphics as well as a game that you can play both on and off line with up to 3 of your friends for 4-player, puzzle solving mayhem.

Gameplay

Tiny Brains has you playing as one of four different “tiny brains” – a rabbit, a mouse, a hamster, and a bat. These are tiny rodent creatures that have been experimented on by an evil mad scientist. Their powers include the ability to create ice blocks out of thin air, force push and pull objects, and the ability to somehow swap positions with another object. Each character has their own special abilities and it’s up to you and your friends to make use of each one’s powers to solve a series of mind bending puzzles and obstacles.

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Basically the object of the game is to solve each puzzle presented to you in at each stage with those powers. It’ll take lots of team work to get through each one and once a puzzle is complete, you move on to the next challenge. Working together is key so if you’re playing with friends, communication is a must. With tons of puzzles to solve, Tiny Brains is a game that has much replayability. I’m not sure how many challenges there are exactly, but I have yet to reach the end.

Of course if you don’t have any friends to play with and still want to play a few rounds on your own, you can totally do this as well. You start off by choosing a character to use but can then swap between any of the other three at will by using the directional controls to swap characters. No matter which character you choose to play as at the beginning, you’ll still need to make use of every single character to pass most of challenges ahead of you as there is really no way to beat any of the levels using just a single character, except for the first few tutorial puzzles.

Aside from the puzzle stages, there are also mini boss battles that also require use of your powers. These don’t quite require as much thought and can usually be completed quite easily. Even without the help of your friends and playing solo, beating these mini bosses takes a bit of quick thinking but it’s not incredibly difficult where you can’t do it on your own.

Features

  • Cooperative Gaming: Tiny Brains requires players to collaborate and put their heads together to overcome physics-based obstacles. With each player controlling a different superpower – Create, Force, Vortex and Teleport – the Tiny Brains must work as a team to move forward and escape the scientist’s deadly labyrinth of mazes.
  • Play It Your Way: All of the puzzles in Tiny Brains can be solved multiple ways depending on how groups combine their powers. The co-op level design creates dynamic, emergent gameplay, whether advancing through the campaign mode, beating time-based challenges, or competing in endless levels.
  • Whimsical World: To escape the mad scientist’s lair, players explore a colorful world of Popsicle stick-like ice pops, duct tape, tiny cages and Rube Goldberg machines. The zany art style gives rise to a slew of slightly mutated, yet oddly cute, playable characters.
  • Hardcore to Casual: Tiny Brains eggs on hardcore gamers with competitive leaderboards and fast-paced communicative play, challenging them to combine their powers as efficiently as possible. At the same time, the game has simple controls and physics-based mechanics that make it easy for casual and less-experienced gamers to jump right in.

Graphics

Tiny Brains is a beautiful looking game. It may not make the most out of the PlayStation 4’s power, but for an indie game, the graphics are very good. I love the wacky art style of all the characters and the level designs are very creative. Most of the game is very bright and colorful, though you will encounter some really dark puzzles that are lit up for instance by a glowing sphere. It really shows off the lighting effects they’ve implemented and looked really good. Still though, I’d like to compare this with what the game will look like when it hits PS3 and see how they differ from that of PS4.

tiny_brains_-_campaign_10

Final Thoughts

I absolutely loved everything about Tiny Brains. Everything from the gameplay to the graphics are simply brilliant and I love how this game can be played both on and off line either by yourself or with a group of friends or family. In fact, this is a really great party game, as long as you have 4 Dualshock 4 controllers handy (I suggest your friends bring over theirs) and the content is suitable for players of all ages. The game is quite challenging, but if you and your friends work together and collectively try and solve each puzzle, you’ll be on your way to freedom in no time.

Tiny Brains is the perfect game to just play for a few rounds if you have to waste some time thanks to the nature of how the levels are laid out. I love that I can just pick up where I left off each time I start the game up and don’t have to backtrack on the parts of the game I already completed, unless I want to. What I absolutely love though is that this is a game I can share with my kids. I try to get them to play puzzle games as it helps with their critical thinking development and it helps that the game is really fun. If parents are looking for a game that will be suitable for younger children, I can recommend Tiny Brains.

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