The Tiny Bang Story is a little indie game with a lot of heart. Although it has a relatively simple concept as a casual puzzle game, it is has layers of story and lots of charm. Developed by Colibri Games, and available for download on Steam, the game features beautiful hand-drawn artwork that is both quirky and whimsical, and is extremely addictive.
The opening scene shows Tiny Planet’s soccer-ball moon being destroyed by an asteroid, which, in turn, causes Tiny Planet to fragment into dozens of puzzle pieces. A brief in-game tutorial quickly and effectively shows you how the game works. You have to collect puzzle pieces to put the planet back together; at the same time, you also have to find components to open doors, fix broken machines, and build transportation devices to take you to the next level. There is no dialogue and no text to help you. You have to use your imagination to figure out what you need to do.
This is where it gets tricky. The items to be found are cleverly integrated into the background scene. Some of the missing pieces are nearly impossible to find, even though they are always right in front of your eyes. Luckily, there is a hint system for when you get stuck. At all times, there will be two blue mosquitos flying around the screen. Once you have clicked on and captured thirty of them, you are eligible to receive a hint in the form of a red mosquito that will fly down and circle the piece that you missed. Catching thirty mosquitos is so tedious, though, that you won’t want to use it too often. This is how the game becomes so addictive, by forcing you to use your mind to work things out.
There are a ton of minigames that you have to get through, as well. Some are relatively simple puzzles that can be solved in a matter of minutes. Others are time-consuming and frustrating. You only get one hint per puzzle, so it can take some time to figure out how the puzzle works.
There is a story in this game, about a boy who grows up to become a successful inventor. As you work your way across Tiny Planet, you learn more about his life. This story is definitely secondary to the main plot of re-assembling the planet, but it still fun to watch unfold. Each level features a different character in the story, but they don’t do anything besides offer you a hint about a crucial piece of the puzzle. Still, although they don’t do much, it’s still fun to look at the little gnome-people.
At the end of each level, you’re taken back to the main screen to assemble the puzzle pieces you’ve collected. One downfall of the game is that, if you don’t collect all of the puzzle pieces in a level, they will magically appear for you. There should be consequences for missing pieces, but there aren’t.
The music fits well with the charming and whimsical feel of the game. When items that you collect go into your inventory, it makes a pleasant sound similar to shuffling cards. You won’t find a single instance of harsh noise in this game. It’s all mellow and breezy.
I really enjoyed this game, but there was one major drawback: the price. When I bought it, right after its initial release, it was $14.99. That’s a lot for a game that took little more than 5 hours to beat. However, they’ve since dropped the price to $9.99, which is much more reasonable. Luckily, The Tiny Bang Story has a demo option, so I suggest giving it a try before buying it. That’s what I did, and I was hooked. I’m going to rate this game 4 out of 5 puzzle pieces.