Cutting things up with a laser. That’s what Tiny (your character) does, and it’s a world of fun. You’re introduced to the game’s mechanics through a gameboy-esque sequence. In this green shaded arcade game, you’ll be taught about the three tools in Tiny’s possession. The main one being the ray cutter. It lets you draw straight lines which a laser will trace and cut. If Tiny ends up with a loose boulder blocking the path, you can use the rocketeer to attach a rocket to it and send it flying. For the opposite effect, use the grippling-device and pull rocks or statues alike towards you.
Once you complete the intro game, your taxi crashes in a less than spectacular cinematic. Apparently, robot taxi’s aren’t foolproof yet. From the taxi crash and on, one thing becomes clear: Tiny and Big’s animations are simple and stale. It’s draw doesn’t come from great cutscenes, fluid animations nor a thrilling story. Instead, it recognizes it’s one selling point and keeps the focus where it should be: on cutting things up. Waking up next to the taxi wreck, Tiny pops on his goggles and starts his quest of returning grandpa’s last heirloom: his magical undies. Your brother Big stole them, and while he wears them on his black beany head, he gains the power to levitate boulders. The story is as goofy as Tiny’s goggles and as relevant as the plot in early Crash Bandicoot or Rayman games. Just like those two oldies, Tiny and Big doesn’t need a plot to shine.
Lasering your way through the destructible environments is a blast by itself. This is one of those pick up and play titles. Once you’re familiar with the tools, the slicing and blasting becomes second nature. Then you notice the collectible unique indie-electronic-instrumental-jazz that complements your slicing rampage, without ever sympathizing with the poor creatures who worked to create these masterpieces.
Tiny and Big throws some original puzzles at you to solve with the three available tools. Most of them combine slicing with platforming. While the slicing feels just like it should, platforming is a small letdown. Gravity feels unnecessarily strong and there is little room for correction once you jump a too far. It’s a design decision that ultimately works on the nerves in levels where precision jumping is vital. Reduced gravity combined with the ability to slice mid-air, is a lacking aspect that would solve this annoyance and change up the gameplay into a more action oriented experience.
Even though there are aspects where Tiny and Big could be easily improved, The fun and sense of accomplishment out of cutting boulders, that evil underpants-hat wearing brother throws at you, outweighs the occasional platforming frustration. Tiny and Big makes you feel like a badass, goofy-goggled, black bean. There aren’t many games that do that, while letting you slice up statues, reminiscent of a toddler’s play-doh art. Red Faction Guerilla is the only game I recall that scratches the same destructive itch, and it is miles out of Tiny and Big’s range. However, during my playtime I’ve more that once wished for the world to open up like in Red Faction, and allow me to freely cause destruction and shape the landscape with my ray cutter.
Look past Tiny and Big: Grandpa’s Leftovers’ stiff animations and it’s barebones, linear platforming, and you will find unprecedented slicing fun on a backdrop of nutty humor. It will supply you with about five hours of content, just enough for the novelty of the ray cutter to reach it’s end. Prevent thinking of the ways it could be improved upon and take it for what it is, then you will enjoy Tiny and Big: Grandpa’s Leftovers until the last minute.