3D platformers used to be all the rage back in the late 90s to early 2000s. It was extremely common to see many releases in this genre each and every year. As the years went by, we started to see fewer and fewer 3D platformers get released. However, in recent years we are starting to see this genre come back, much to my delight. Games like Yooka-Laylee, A Hat in Time and even the return of Crash Bandicoot have brought 3D platformers back in the limelight; which brings us to Tiny Hands Adventure. Tiny Hands Adventure is a 3D platformer a lot like the original Crash Bandicoot game, and it obviously tries its hardest to be a great platformer but often falls short of being a very fun experience.
In Tiny Hands Adventure, you play as Borti, a T-Rex who sets off on an adventure to find longer hands and arms. Throughout your adventure, there are many collectibles to find, which is incredibly common in 3D platform games. To reach the boss of each temple you play in, you must collect enough fragments to unlock the Temple Guardian level (boss).
Tiny Hands Adventure is an obvious love letter to the Crash Bandicoot games. Much like in Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back, you find yourself in a series of rooms (known as “temples” in this game) that allow you to pick the level you want to play. To my surprise, each level is varied and provides something new to play. One level is a slippery ice level that challenges your reflexes and timing. Another level is all about precise jumps to climb up a lighthouse. This is really nice to have that kind of variety from level to level. Each level also has different music, which is a highlight of the game. No music track ever played too much, nor did any track come off as annoying. The music was really enjoyable and, much like the variety in level types, changed up with each level. I was able to play this game on Nintendo Switch, which is a terrific platform for this game genre. The game ran well and was enjoyable when played in handheld mode. In fact, the game is well suited for the Switch’s play style, allowing you to play a single bite-sized level in just a few minutes.
Tiny Hands Adventure falls victim to the same problems as the game it is obviously a love letter to. Like the original Crash game, Tiny Hands Adventure suffers from a number of frustrating problems. The camera is not controllable, which is a major problem in this game. The camera never truly is aimed at the correct view for you to see exactly where you are going to land after a jump. Often the camera is too far away or at such a weird angle that it’s more of a guessing game if you jumped far enough to make it to the next platform.
Even worse than the camera is the awful hit box detection. I died a lot in this game because I was hit by an enemy or obstacle I clearly wasn’t touching. This is made more frustrating when you try to attack an enemy, only for your attack to be ignored and for you to end up dying. I understand precise platforming and the need to be precise when attacking enemies, but Tiny Hands Adventure fights you in these areas. The camera is so poorly angled most of the time that you can’t see what you’re about to hit or what you actually hit. The hit boxes are so random that it’s hard to tell how close I can and can’t be from objects. I know the game wants things to be about trial and error, but more often than not, you fail because the game design itself failed.
The easiest word to describe Tiny Hands Adventure is “meh”. Not awful, not great. It honestly feels like this game could be pretty good if its issues were fixed. The character animations are fine but not great. When enemies die, they just fall over and stop moving, not much animation in the process. The whole game just feels okay, which is a problem. In order to stand out in the 3D platform genre, you need to be pretty good or at least pretty unique. Tiny Hands Adventure is obviously meant to be for the Crash Bandicoot crowd, but because those games are available again, remastered, you’d be better off playing those games instead. I truly believe Tiny Hands Adventure could be a good game if the time was spent fixing its issues. The camera badly needs to be fixed so you can actually see where you’re going or landing. The hit boxes also need to be fixed so that you can understand how close you can and can’t be from enemies and obstacles. The animations need to be fixed so they feel less generic. In its current state, Tiny Hands Adventure is a hard game to recommend. Maybe if you are a die-hard Crash Bandicoot fan, you will be willing to pick this game up for a similar, albeit less polished, experience.
Developer: Blue Sunset Games
Publisher: Blue Sunset Games
Platforms: PS4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PC
Release Date: 10th August 2018
For more information on Tiny Hands Adventure, visit the official website HERE
Alternatively, read our review on Adventure Time: Pirates of the Enchiridion HERE