The first time I loaded the game I have to admit I felt two things: fear and intrigue. The game loads with a retro-drawn car driving in the desert, atop the car sits a little creature and his mechanical friend – a radio, who is driving the car. The character’s name is Tiny, and he goes into this back-story about how his grandfather left him some underpants that can change the world. Tiny explains how the underpants were stolen and taken into the dessert by another character named Big (who has something called Pants-Magik, and uses it to foil your recovery mission), and they have to get them back.
I say I felt fear because I don’t think I have ever encountered an art style quite like this one. The opening scene consisted of static drawings, animated to give the illusion that the car is driving. The actual character Tiny is somewhat frightening looking; you can’t quite put your finger on what he is or swallow the way he is drawn. The few worlds Tiny explores encapsulate this, the whole world seeming a bit exaggerated and capricious. The graphics reminds me a lot of the art style from the book “The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales.”
The music tends to surf on the same wave – whimsical, almost jovial music is present in all aspects, from the LaserBoy training to the exploration and sound effects. A cool feature in the game is the ability to collect and find cassette tapes which allow for more music and sounds to be deposited into the Tiny and Big world.
The general game play is interesting: Tiny is armed with a small armoury of weapons, including a laser gun, rocket jets, and a sort of grappling hook. These tools are introduced right away, and allow Tiny to progress the story with the abilities they provide. The rocket jet lets Tiny ride objects long distances while hanging on for dear life. The grappling hook shoots into blocks and objects, letting Tiny pull them down and push them places needed to advance to other areas or move forward in reaching a desired location. The laser gun is probably the most fun tool, used to cut stones so they can be used in getting Tiny to certain areas or gaining access to places the stone was blocking. Each world is somewhat similar to a sandbox environment; the game lets players cut the objects in any way they choose, each cut can affect how fast or slow Tiny can get up or over them. Cutting objects in half, building a ramp, or slicing crude juts are all up to the player.
The game mechanics stay consistent the whole game and the controls are easy to use once you get the hang of it. Certain explanations disappear off the screen leaving you to figure it out yourself if you happen to have missed it, and the terminology is harder to understand for those who perhaps don’t game often on their laptops or don’t have a controller. The only complaint I had with the mechanics was WASD directional pad, that sometimes made Tiny veer sideways or not in a straight line unless you were constantly controlling the camera. I also found the training levels to be a bit tedious and longer than necessary.
In saying all this, I would still recommend the game as something to pick up and experience. The graphics and art style are really quite charming, and heeds to my love of things that are somewhat off or creepy. The game appealed to me right away because of the weirdness of the art, and the in-game music, voices, and sound effects, which seemed to be streamlined with the overall experience.
The game left me with Pants-Magik envy, and given the graphics, music, and gameplay I would rate the game 7.5 underpants out of 10.