Tiny and Big: Grandpa’s Leftovers is an intriguing puzzler / platformer from Black Pants Studio. In it, you play as Tiny, a funny little fella whose grandfather recently passed away. Now apparently Gramps was a bit of an adventurer as well, and when he died he bequeathed a very special object to Tiny: his underpants. Unfortunately Tiny’s nemesis, a bully named Big, has swiped Grandpa’s gruts, and has taken off to the desert to do evil things with them.
Tiny, despite his stature, is immense in personal fortitude, and so he too races out to the desert in search of the lost jocks. Strapped to his back is a talking radio, which warns: “the world’s destiny is in those pants!”
The desert is a funny sort of place, where ancient temples push up out of the sand, and strange rock formations stretch miles up into the sky. Big scales these with ease, but it’s a bit more difficult for Tiny to get up there after him. Fortunately, he’s pretty well kitted-up, with a powerful grappling hook, a ray cutter, and rocket launcher. Armed with these and his talking radio, he sets off after Big.
What you soon find out is that playing as Tiny, you are able to manipulate just about everything in his environment with his tools. Need to get up to a ledge? Cut a section out of the wall with the cutter, and then pull it over towards you with the grappler, and climb up on that. Need a bridge across that chasm? Cut a section of a massive column in two, or push a long piece of stone over the gap. If there’s a big piece of stone in your way, blast it away from you using the rocket launcher. By pushing, pulling, cutting and blasting, you help Tiny make his way through these hazardous desert temples, all the while avoiding Big’s occasional attacks.
The challenge is in using the material around Tiny, but not to the point where you find you’ve destroyed everything around you (therefore needing to restart the level). Some areas can be particularly tough, and as the physics in the game are (necessarily) realistic, accurate manipulation of objects can take a little while to get right. Early in the game this can feel a bit haphazard, and death can come quickly via toppling columns of rock, or an accidental misguided grapple. But as you slowly get a feel for how different material behaves, and experiment with different angles of ray cutter slices, you soon come to feel like a bit of a maestro, conducting an orchestra of destruction and mayhem.
That’s essentially the basics of the gameplay, but a lot of extra flavour is added with the great look and feel of this title. In terms of visuals, Tiny and Big feels like the best sort of comic book come to life, with a scratchy, hand-drawn feel, and loads of exploding text on the screen to accompany falling rock, or the slice of Tiny’s ray. On top of this there is, with the track titles also scattered around the game as collectible tapes that Tiny can then play on his radio.
Clocking in at around 2 – 4 hours, the game’s not long, but there’s the potential for a lot of replay time (especially for completists), and at $10 USD from Gog.com, there’s not much to complain about here.
While it’s not every day that emails about “underpant games” make it through my spam filters, I’m particularly glad this one did. It’s indie gaming at its finest.