Tiny Brains Preview: Party of One

Challenge Awaits

Though it’s geared at being an accessible party-style game, what I’ve seen of Tiny Brains is going to pack a challenge even for seasoned players. The five story chapters of the game each have their own unique offerings — in the second chapter, for example, players start in an area in which they have to move a glowing ball through a maze. The ball itself serves as the only means of illuminating the path forward, and of course there are slopes, gaps and other obstacles along the way.

I also saw a new challenge level, one of a few that exist outside of the main story campaign. At E3, I played a challenge level in which players had to push a ball up in the interior of an inclined, spinning cylinder that was filled with holes and weak sections, with the goal of getting as high as possible. This new preview included a level that was almost like a series of interlocking gears. Inclined slopes on either side of the pathway forward spun, forcing players to weave back and forth across them for as long as they could manage.

In essence, Tiny Brains has a breadth of challenge, and even working with other players isn’t precisely a cakewalk. Expect it to be even tougher when you play alone or engage in some of the challenge modes. You’ll also have the ability to play online with friends cooperatively or against one another in the Tiny Soccer mode, in which pairs of players face off against one another. Think soccer, but with a huge ball, and players with Jedi powers.

Another mode included in the title called Tiny Trolls that basically turns on the puzzler equivalent of friendly fire — allowing players to accidentally fling each other off cliffs and whatnot. Expect serious chaos.

After another couple of hours playing through Tiny Brains both alone and with a handful of strangers, it remains the game I’m most excited about for the launch of the Playstation 4. The title looks to be the game you’re going to gather around with various members of the family when you break out the new PS4 during the holidays this year, and it still seems poised to accommodate all comers: be they alone, with casual players, with a more hardcore crowd, or in search of serious challenges and leaderboard cred.

Tiny Brains launches on Dec. 3 on Playstation 4 and in mid-December on PC.

Read more of Phil Hornshaw’s work here, and follow him and Game Front on Twitter: @philhornshaw and @gamefrontcom.

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