"Somewhere Between a Bang and a Bomb"
The Tiny Bang Story holds a strange place in the pantheon of mobile I Spy-style "find the hidden objects on the screen" games I've played. In some ways, I found it to be the best of the bunch. In other ways, not so much. This game is in a strange position, and I shall tell you why.
If you've read my last two hidden-object game reviews, you should have a pretty solid idea of what to expect, since the gameplay is nearly identical. You're tasked with finding objects placed covertly in the scenery, and collecting these is key to clearing puzzles and progressing.
Early on, it's apparent that in the actual finding of the items, The Tiny Bang Story is at its best. Of the hidden-object games I've played, this one is the most challenging, with objects being placed in some deviously clever hiding spots. True, most of them are in plain sight, but the way that they can be integrated into the background can have you straining your eyes, scanning every single inch of the screen in order to find them. If you choose not to make use of the game's hint option, prepare for a challenge.
Eventually, though, unceasing object-searching can grow tiresome, which is something the game tries to avoid with the incorporation of mini-games. Often, in order to find a certain object, you have to clear a little challenge, which can take many forms, ranging from a mini-arcade game where you navigate an 8-bit submarine around obstacles, to a game where you have to pull levers in the right sequences. They are simple challenges that are not likely going to leave you at wit's end, but they do provide a pleasant enough diversion from all the object-spotting.
Unfortunately, as fun as it may be, it all feels like you're doing it all for no reason. It doesn't take long to realize that The Tiny Bang Story is, in many ways, sort of empty. Empty in that the environment is (with the exception of some characters) devoid of life or the sense that you're really involved. Not only that, the game is devoid of a narrative, despite the use of the word "story" in the title. There's a little scene at the beginning that sort of sets up a conflict that justifies the need to find hidden objects, but that's all the narrative incentive you get, and the game leaves you to get to work from there.
And then, before you know it, it's over. After roughly four hours in, you reach the final area of TTBS, and it's an unceremonious room where you can replay the mini-games you encountered before. That's it. Nothing else to reward you for all the trouble. Personally, I haven't felt as great a feeling of having wasted my time as when I reached the end of this game. It felt like all the object-collecting was, in a way, all for naught. I felt perfectly deflated. To use a Portal reference, the cake was a lie. A mean lie.
Still, The Tiny Bang Story does have its good points, like its good level of difficulty with the hidden-object aspect. Another area in which it excels is the graphics department. Though the scenery remains visually similar throughout, it is done in a pleasing painterly style that adds to the experience, making it less of a bother to scan the screen in search of that one pipe that feels like staying where it is.
Sadly, like I said before, the things I mentioned –the lack of any narrative incentive to proceed, and the rather unsatisfying ending– also take away a noticeable amount of fun from the experience. It leaves TTBS in that strange position I mentioned at the beginning, one where it stands precariously between its merits and its faults. A shame really, since this game could have easily risen above them and become one of the crown jewels of hidden-object games. A shame indeed.
GameDynamo's Score for The Tiny Bang Story (Mobile)
A writer, journalist, and aspiring storyteller, Peter Grimm has been gaming since the days of the Nintendo 64, and reporting on the goings-on in the World of Gaming since late 2011. His base of writing operations is located within the void between Here and There, or so he would have you think.
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