It’s bit tricky doing a plot synopsis for Tiny & Big: Grandpa’s Leftovers (Mac App Store link). In this Mac game, it seems that Tiny has lost his underpants—though, fortunately, he wasn’t wearing them at the time, so the game is perfectly safe for kids to play. The underpants were left to him by his deceased grandfather and have been stolen by a bad guy named Big, so Tiny heads off into the desert to try and track them down.
As he explores the desert landscape, Tiny has to solve all sorts of puzzles using just three pieces of equipment. He has a grappling gun that can be used to pull objects towards him, and a rocket gun that blasts things away from him. He can also use a laser gun to slice things up, like carving a set of steps out of a piece of rock so that he can climb past an obstacle.
There’s a simple tutorial that introduces these three weapons for you, and you are then left to wander through a series of six different levels in search of the aforementioned undergarments. The tutorial and the early stages of the main game can be a little irritating at times, as they sometimes flash hints or instructions on screen so quickly that you may not get a chance to read them properly. Fortunately, your three weapons are so straightforward to use that it doesn’t take long to get the hang of things.
It’s the head-scratching puzzles that will really keep you thinking, as you stare at the screen wondering how on earth you get past the various obstacles that stand between you and your underpants. It’s similar to the puzzle-solving style of games like Portal, although Tiny’s grappling gun and other tools are a bit more low-tech than Portal’s dimension-warping sci-fi weaponry. The game also has a distinct style of its own, with attractive hand-drawn graphics that look like a comic book or graphic novel.
Tiny & Big isn’t a terribly long game—only a few hours for most players, probably—and it might perhaps work better on the iPad than as a full-price game for the Mac. Even so, it does have plenty of challenging puzzles and a quiet, old-school charm that is a welcome antidote to the blood and guts of shoot ‘em ups.
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