Tiny Lands, from Hyper Three Studio, is a beautiful zen-like puzzle game. After seeing the low poly, quite frankly, gorgeous visuals, I couldn’t wait to play this little indie title, but it took a couple of evenings to finish.
It felt like an Early Access game in that it could end at any moment, as it gave the initial impression that it was going to be over pretty quick; each puzzle consisted of only five differences to find.
The disappointment was starting to settle in as I’d hoped to be playing this for some time. Fortunately then, each scene’s complexity increases, and it’s a frequent occurrence to be stuck on the last item, which is part of the appeal.
Tiny Lands Review
There are quite a few hidden objects game out, and I’ve been keen to play some when time permits. The most recent was Perky Little Things. However, despite my namesake, this site may get the wrong impression if I post screenshots of that one.
Hidden Through Time is a game that’s been on the wishlist for a while, but this Tiny Lands review leapfrogs the rest. It’s such a gorgeous looking game that while admiring the mise-en-scène (oooh, classy), an achievement popped up for daydreaming.
One diorama after the next, you explore a scene with some slight nuances, be it a lit fire, leaves floating in the winds, or a splash of lightning illuminating the shadows. A game to chill to? Perhaps, but there’s a slight competitive element to it.
Leave Your Stopwatch At The Door
Once upon a time, when comics were printed on trees, my friends and I would often turn to the back for a word search, colouring session, or more importantly, a spot the difference challenge.
Tiny Lands operates the same way as these old school puzzles. You’re presented with two 3D images that are supposedly identical, only there are five, often subtle differences, ranging from sizes, colour and positioning.
Though you needn’t feel rushed, a couple of achievements encourage finding all objects in 15 seconds or getting 50 perfects finds in a row, making only ten mistakes. It’s doable though, as I got the 100% completion after six hours of play well spent.
We Fear Change
Five objects per scene doesn’t seem like much, but as stated, the complexity increases and you really will be stumped by some of them such as the levels with multiple fish, or a Japanese dining scene.
In these situations, it can get a little frustrating if you lack patience. For me, however, I sat with this late on a Friday evening with a tumbler of whisky, and it was bliss. While the ambience and music were very good, for the most part, I was reliving the past and listening to Reuben. Perhaps a little counter-Zen.
There are no hints in Tiny Lands, and this works in its favour. When you return to a stage, you will have to find the objects again, but it does register your previous attempt, represented by stars.
It’s family-friendly too. Not only are the themes safe, but the controls are easy for most. You use the mouse to highlight objects, and with A and D, rotate the scene, while W and S zoom in and out. Note that the zoom feature focuses on the centre of the screen only.
It became apparent I was nearing the end of the Tiny Lands reviewwquite swiftly, and the reason for comparing to an Early Access – not because it was incomplete, but due to the lack of stages.
Well, good news: the beginning is just one world. There are five in all: the forest you begin with, a snow stage, Japanese theme, graveyard and a nautical location. You can tackle these in any order you choose, pending you have enough stars to unlock, the stars represented by the number of objects you have located.
In total, there are 50 levels to run through, with ten items to find. Before you wonder about longevity, let me tell you that even after repeat plays, I forgot the object locations (could have been the drink), so it’s possible you can replay anew almost. Tiny Lands is worth a revisit further down the line, regardless.
Tiny Lands Review Summary
Tiny Lands is bliss. It’s a well-structured sandpit offering a decent challenge and some zen-like scenes to chill to at the same time. It would be great if it gets DLC down the line, but as it stands, more than enough replay for even those with a Rainman-like memory. Ask your folks.