RPGs will usually have a narrative that leads players through a world-saving adventure. However, those who wish to create their own are left with only a handful of options. Developer Headup takes influences from games like Dragon Quest Builders for their newest adventure, Tinkertown. Released in Early Access, I explored its early concepts and got a taste of what the team is trying to create.
Tinkertown pretty much creates a world and leaves you to your own devices. The sandbox systems could have used a better tutorial, but there aren’t many consequences for death at this time. In the early parts of the game, your only real goal is to gather materials and build a base. The systems are almost self-explanatory for those who have played games such as Minecraft, but they can be even more straightforward than that.
As you collect materials, new items can be crafted, such as a furnace and workbench that opens up new menus to craft even more. Withing these systems, it’s possible to build your own base and prepare for your adventure. It took me a while to learn how to navigate the various menus and access specific craftables, which could be presented a little cleaner. Still, everything is laid out nicely for what you need and what is available to you.
To gather materials, you must head out. Adventuring on the overworld gives you plenty to see across various environments. You can mine, chop, and craft your way through the lands, which there is always something to find as you branch out further. The world itself is colorful with high-resolution pixel graphics that gives the entire game a retro appeal. Each new environment also has a host of different materials to find as well new enemies.
Additionally, dungeons spread across the world that you can enter to find more materials and tougher enemies. These dungeons are enjoyable, especially when you play them with friends, but I wish they each had an end goal, such as a boss or a powerful item. For now, you travel through collecting items until there’s nothing left to explore, and then you leave. These dungeons could very well be the best part of the game if the developers implement them correctly. For instance, making the overworld focused on sandbox gameplay while the dungeons act to progress a semi-narrative game.
Multiplayer is a big part of the experience, and Tinkertown has a nice gameloop for friends to create their own adventure. Crafting and building environments are streamlined in a way where you basically create around players in realtime, and it just flows so nicely. I’m sure any hindering elements will be smoothed over to improve the player experience, but right now, I had a great time finding an adventure within what is offered with a group of friends to talk to.
I should also point out that the music is excellent, but this is also a no brainer given that Secret of Mana composer Hiroki Kikuta is working on the project. It’s just a good setting for the adventure as you discover all that you can do within the world. Currently, the developer has plans for combat updates and NPCs and classes, so there are lots to look forward to. Based on my time with the game, I’m excited to see how it evolves and create new adventures with my friends.
Tinkertown is currently available on Steam Early Access.
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