The Tiny Bang Story: review

Guest Reviewer: James C

Have you ever tried one of those magic eye pictures? You know, the ones where you stare incessantly at some coloured blobs, trying to make out some hidden image? Well if you have, playing The Tiny Bang Story may be likened to that experience – spending ridiculous amounts of time staring at a picture, trying to discover the ‘secrets beneath’.

The Tiny Bang Story is part point and click adventure, part puzzle solving game. You are dropped in a universe where everyone is born mute. There is no dialogue, no text and no voice acting (save for a few grunts here and there). You are given no clue as to how to solve the puzzles with the exception of the odd picture or diagram. This might sound a little daunting until you note the PEGI 3 rating on the box, then it all becomes clear. That’s right, you guessed it, it’s a game for children.

You may be forgiven then, for believing you can install the game and prepare for your brain to take a holiday for a few hours. This would be true if it were not for the bulk of the game revolving around observation. Eye-watering observation. The Tiny Bang Story can best be explained as ‘Where’s Wally?’ with a few puzzles thrown in for good measure. It’s like the developers take great pleasure in hiding the smallest of images in the most obscure of places just to strain your eyes.

Levels are better described as pictures, pieces of interactive artwork where you are tasked with finding objects and solving puzzles to progress to the next picture. Though the mention of puzzles here may be a bit misleading. The Tiny Bang Story does indeed have puzzles, but they lack any real thought behind them. Since there is no communication within the game, there is no way to explain detailed mechanics or imply any subtlety in puzzle design. You locate a puzzle because your cursor turns into cogs when hovering over part of the picture. It is never really made clear why you need to solve the puzzles or what the overall goal is. They seem to exist within the game with no more purpose than to make you solve them before continuing and as if you thought it couldn’t get worse, they are not challenging. Ever.

Not once during the game will you get stuck trying to figure out what to do; for the most part you either know the answer as soon as you see the puzzle, or go through a process of trial and error to solve it. An example of this would be one particular puzzle that requires you to place some valve wheels on a set of pipes. There are only a certain number of places to stick the valves and trying every possible combination would take a couple of minutes. Because there is this lack of difficulty, you do not feel a sense of reward when you complete the puzzles or find all the items needed to progress.

The game is heavy on detail, which helps game design when your game revolves around finding needles in a stack of even more needles. While the concept of hunting for an image hidden somewhere within a larger image is entertaining for a while, this does not lend itself well to playing for any length of time. In fact, it becomes quite boring. The artwork itself can be fun to look at for a while but when you are forced to look at the same few images for long periods of time, the novelty wears off.

The Tiny Bang Story is not a very long game at all, after a couple of hours you will realise you are approaching the end of the game. This may be greeted with a sigh of relief or with a pang of disappointment because, while the game was not particularly exciting, the music is pretty good. It probably makes sense that if you are going to have a game with no dialogue, you better make sure the background music is exceptional. In this case, it is. There is a soothing and relaxing nature to the music, so much so you may feel you are being secretly brainwashed while playing. So appealing is the music in The Tiny Bang Story, they include a CD of it in the collectors edition.

It should be mentioned that the game can be bought on digital download for half the RRP of £19.99 but this version does not contain the soundtrack which is definitely worth picking up.

So all in all, The Tiny Bang Story is a great game if you are looking to distract younger cousins/siblings/offspring while you go play something violent and bloody. It is not really going to hold the attention of anyone who has passed puberty for much more than an hour (two if you enjoy the music) but serves as a slower, more relaxed gaming experience than your usual fare. Ideally, this game would do well as an iPad or iPhone game; these devices are a safe haven for the more casual title. Well it seems perhaps developers Colibri agree, and are looking at porting the game to the iPad in the future.





[This review was written by guest author James C who runs a gaming related YouTube channel and blog and is not directly affiliated with any staff member, apart from those that he is.]

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Written by Ian D

Misanthropic git. Dislikes: Most things. Likes: Obscure references.

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