Tiny-Tasy Town fondly awakened my memories of Dark Cloud, the first game I ever received for the PlayStation 2. In both titles, you tackle the problem of rebuilding a village from scratch. There's a certain appeal to creating your own little fief and Tiny-Tasy Town certainly delivered, but it has a long way to go.
Unlike most stories, Tiny-Tasy Town begins at the end of a war. You've served the royalty well and have been granted a fief as an honored Lord. You are charged with turning the medieval equivalent of a one-stoplight town into a bustling hamlet. This is accomplished by attracting new people to join your village and building the appropriate facilities.
Building out your town mostly comes down to completing quests and gathering materials. First, you need to gather supplies to make a handful of tents. These tents will attract visitors who may be convinced to live on a more permanent basis. Quests can be completed to raise their relationship level. Once it's high enough, they'll be able to move in. Simply build them a home and a place for them to work and you're good to go! They'll move right in and join your village as a functional member of society. What's more, they'll often provide useful services (and perhaps more importantly, tax revenue).
One of the challenges I've experienced in my four hours of play comes down to gold. Gathering materials is easy enough, but money is another matter. Tax revenue is certainly helpful, but I feel like it takes a little too much time for it to come in. I often found myself bottlenecked by my gold income and had to resort to grinding out fishing in order to raise additional money.
Quests can provide a measure of income, but these often have their own challenges that can be difficult to overcome. One might need certain materials which necessitate upgrading shopkeepers and/or collecting several groups of resources. Sometimes it's a lot of work—and occasionally it feels like a little too much work.
I couldn't shake the feeling that Tiny-Tasy Town's design recalled free-to-play Facebook clickers. Don't get me wrong—there's plenty of actual gameplay in this title from Rabbiroo and INDIECN. The combat is robust and engaging and there are a few fun things to do in the game. That said, the time involved in gathering resources felt ill-balanced for a single-player game of this type. It felt more like I was playing a free-to-play game or an MMORPG that was trying to drag things out as much as possible.
[gallery link="file" columns="2" size="full" ids="268792,268793"]
Left: new buildings unlock by acquiring blueprint pieces and assembling them in a puzzle minigame. Right: the game world has a few different enemies and plenty of resources to gather, but it's far from finished.
Tiny-Tasy Town does a lot of interesting little things here and there. The mechanic for unlocking new buildings revolves around collecting puzzle pieces and assembling them in a minigame. These pieces are awarded via quests or received in chests that are peppered throughout the game world. You must get a key of the correct color in order to open the chest; finding these keys appears to happen completely by chance and it occasionally frustrated me.
The act of building was simple enough, although it's implementation is a little rough. I'm very particular about how I arrange things when it comes to a game of this style and Tiny-Tasy Town occasionally made fine-tuning difficult. One could only rotate the camera rather than the buildings themselves in placement mode, often requiring me to pick them up and move them again and again in order to get things just right.
I also had some troubles with the game's interface. Lowering the volume on the menu didn't take effect until I hit the escape key. Escape pulls you out of most menus but not every menu, making for a frustrating disconnect in muscle memory. The controls also occasionally froze up, requiring me to go into the menu and back out in order to reset things. One of the more annoying problems was an inability to adjust the camera sensitivity; it seemed tied to native mouse sensitivity and I'm not too keen on adjusting a setting in my operating system to make a game work better.
There are a good few downsides in Tiny-Tasy Town, but that's not to say the game is without its upsides. The music and character design are positively wonderful. The translation is occasionally a bit off, but the majority of it was fine and the writing was certainly amusing at times. The graphics aren't perfect, but the game has a consistent and likable style.
I spent a total of four hours in Tiny-Tasy Town and I mostly enjoyed my time with the game. I had hoped to get a bit more out of this title, but I feel like the grinding portions slow things down to an unacceptable level. What's worse, the game's creator is on a break from development while he searches for a new job.
Tiny-Tasy Town has its flaws, but the majority of them are no worse than the hiccups one might expect from any other Steam Early Access title. This game has a lot of potential and the problems I've encountered all seem simple enough to fix. What's there now is an okay game, but it could become something great with a little elbow grease. I hope that Rabbiroo can pull it off.
TechRaptor covered Tiny-Tasy Town on PC via Steam with a code provided by the developer.
What do you think of Tiny-Tasy Town? Do you like the idea of building your own town? Let us know in the comments below!