The PS4 Gets A 3D Platformer
When The Last Tinker: City of Colors made its debut on PCs back in May, it was a passable indie platformer in a pack of other indie titles that managed to get some things right without ever achieving real greatness. Now, Loot Entertainment has brought the little 3D platformer over to the PS4, and while it’s still the same old game it was on PC, it’s lost something in the translation. However, it benefits from one thing the original PC release didn’t have; a starving audience.
A Jumping, Fighting Rainbow
The basic premise of The Last Tinker is that a monkey boy named Koru needs to restore a city of color that is being drained of said colors. This is done by negotiating the terrain, hopping over obstacles, riding rails, punching monsters and using different color powers to both fight and navigate. In other words, this game plays a lot like Ratchet & Clank or Sly Cooper games. That’s a good thing, since right now there are no Ratchet or Sly games available on the PS4. It’s also unfortunate, because that very lack of games makes The Last Tinker the only real alternative for 3D platform hungry PS4 gamers, and it’s not anywhere near as good the as the previously mentioned franchises.
“City of Colors never equals—let alone surpasses—the games that influenced it.”The biggest offender for City of Color is the porting process. After seeing ports like Diablo III, Tomb Raider and The Last of Us, it’s pretty clear that bringing a game over to the PS4 can yield significant performance dividends. Now, granted, The Last Tinker is a different beast, coming originally from the PC space, and is a smaller, indie effort, but the result of having less time and money means that the PS4 version is far from ideal performance-wise. This is not a big game, nor is it a technically complex one, and the graphics, while crisp, could be readily done on a PS3 with little loss to image integrity. That’s what makes the performance issues all the more surprising. The Last Tinker is a game that takes serious hits to its framerate, varying wildly from moment to moment. Instead of being locked down to 30 or 60 frames per second, the game constantly jumps around depending on where the camera is and what’s happening on screen. The result is a jerky game that feels a little off in its execution. It’s not a smooth looking experience compared to other games available on the PS4 today.
On the bright side, being a platformer, the game handles naturally on a DualShock 4 controller, but it’s far from quick and responsive. Mimimi also made the odd decision to automate jumping, taking away some of the interactivity from the game. It makes the game a good deal easier to play than perhaps it should be, but also makes it a child friendly title, which, perhaps, is the audience that its intended for. It’s easy to look at the various mechanics, like riding rails, freezing time and other moments, and see the platforming inspirations that were drawn from, but City of Colors never equals—let alone surpasses—the games that influenced it.
Still, right just now, PS4 owners have little in the way of solid, 3D platformers in the tradition of Sly Cooper or a Ratchet & Clank game. City of Colors is not great, but neither is it fundamentally broken. It has some surprising performance issues considering it’s not a big or complex game, but in some ways, and that’s disappointing considering the hardware it’s on is certainly up to the task of holding this at a steady frame rate. If you’re desperate for a 3D platformer on your PS4, or looking for something that the kids can play without being overwhelmed, this is a game worth looking into. Otherwise, titles like Strider and Trine 2 provide a more solid, engaging platforming experience, though they are 2.5D, rather than 3D.