By Jeb Haught
For the Saturday Gazette-Mail
“The Last Tinker: City of Colors.” Unity Games. Windows PC. $19.99. ESRB rating: Everyone. Review rating: 4.0 stars
So many big-budget games focus on mercilessly slaughtering enemies that it’s become refreshing to play a finely crafted adventure that evokes good feelings. Such is the case with the action puzzle platformer “The Last Tinker: City of Colors.” While the game play isn’t very challenging, the vibrant artistic world and positive vibe appeals to both the palette and palate.
The whimsical land of Tinkerworld used to be an artistic paradise where townsfolk came together to create whatever they chose. Unfortunately, the denizens of the City of Colors have disagreed over which color reigns supreme to the extent that the town is now divided into three isolated districts. Only the noble hero, Koru, can stop “the bleakness” and unite the city.
As a Tinker, Koru can control the colors and their associated negative feelings. Green represents fear and mistrust, red evokes anger and rage, and blue represents sadness and despair. Colors are mostly used during combat to enhance its simplistic nature. Koru begins with a standard block and combo attack, but eventually he can use colors to influence the actions of his enemies. For example, turning an enemy green makes it run away in fear, which can be used to send them off a cliff of no return.
In addition to combat, this game utilizes a different kind of platforming that focuses on fast-paced movement more than pixel-perfect jumps. Instead of a jump button, the run button makes Koru automatically jump when he needs to. This parkour style of navigation still requires correct timing, but adaptive skills and quick reflexes also come into play.
Due to the simple nature of both the navigation and combat, hardcore gamers won’t find much to keep them interested. However, the gorgeous visuals and wonderful soundtrack are enough to satisfy most people.
As a result, “The Last Tinker: City of Colors” is a great game for both children and adults with short attention spans.
“Dustforce.” Capcom. Microsoft Xbox 360 (PC). $10. ESRB rating: Everyone. Review rating: 3.5 stars
Unlike the glory days of platform games in the early 2000s, nowadays it’s not easy to find a challenging platformer. That’s why I jumped at the opportunity to play the odd 2D side-scrolling game, “Dustforce.” Instead of defeating hordes of enemies or defending castles, this game focuses on cleaning dirt off of every surface imaginable, including living creatures.
At first glance, it would appear that “Dustforce” was designed specifically for the likes of Adrian Monk or Sheldon Cooper, but players don’t have to be a neat freak to enjoy the ... ahem ... dirty game play. However, being a perfectionist definitely helps, because achieving a high grade on each level requires near-perfect timing and movement.
There’s no storyline to explain why everything is covered in dirt or why it must all be cleaned off, so players can use their imagination to fill in the details. Regardless, this game is much more complex than I ever imagined. Simply finishing a level is quick and satisfying, but achieving a high grade is the real incentive!
That’s because doing so requires a smooth flow through the level that resembles perfect lines in skateboarding. Dashing through levels with a broomstick or vacuum while making precise jumps and even running on the ceiling in one fell swoop are the keys to victory! It’s very rewarding to continually improve on each level. Another incentive to replay levels or even the entire game is to try and complete Xbox 360-specific achievements.
The controls reward continuous movement, but become very finicky when trying to make precise moves while stopped. This promotes constant movement and split-second decisions. I quickly discovered that starting a level over again was easier than trying to regain momentum after coming to an accidental stop. Fortunately, the Xbox 360 controller is very responsive.
Too bad cleaning my room as a child wasn’t nearly as fun as playing “Dustforce!”