A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Last Tinker: City of Colors is a downloadable third-person action-adventure game with some mild cartoonish violence. The game's hero -- a monkey-like creature -- fights fantastical enemies with his fists and throws globs of color at them. The story is set in a city where the citizens are divided based on their color preference and can be viewed as an allegory for racial and cultural differences. It's the player's job to reunite the city by traveling to each segregated district and working with its people to overcome an encroaching color-sucking menace called the "bleakness."
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What's it about?
THE LAST TINKER: CITY OF COLORS is set in a fantasy town where the inhabitants are obsessed with colors -- just not necessarily the same ones. The city has been broken into districts, and most residents tend to align themselves with a primary color, such as red or blue. Over the years, most of the people in each district have learned to distrust or even dislike people from other districts without any real reason. This opens the door for an evil entity to cover the disconnected city with "bleakness," a colorless white slime that freezes and drains the color from anything it comes in contact with. The only person capable of dealing with this menace is the player's character, Koru, a monkey-like creature who travels from district to district gaining new powers that allow him to defeat the bleakness, restore color to the city and its citizens, and possibly reunite the city by helping the citizens overcome their petty differences.
Is it any good?
Most $20 games feel like $20 games: They may be fun and beautiful, but you can tell they didn't require a team of 100 or more people working for years to create them. But The Last Tinker: City of Colors is a surprisingly lengthy and full-fledged third-person action-adventure game with fun play mechanics, an original look and feel, an unexpectedly affecting story, and a whole lot of places to explore and things to do. It even has those important little extras that make games like these more playable, including navigation hints and a smart checkpoint system. Given its scope and features, it feels like a bargain.
That's not to say it's nearly as polished as, say, a Ratchet & Clank or Mario game. Character animations are a bit stiff, and there's very little voiced dialogue. Plus, the controls can be loose at times, and the camera is occasionally problematic while grinding or moving around in tight quarters. Still, the things this game gets right shine through. Families looking for a smart, fun, safe, and affordable action-adventure game won’t be disappointed.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the impact of violence in media. Do you feel a difference watching human characters fight each other in a game versus fantastical creatures with human qualities?
Talk about how to accept and embrace differences such as those found in The Last Tinker. How might we learn from people whose beliefs and experiences differ from our own? Do you ever notice yourself changing how you behave when speaking with someone from another culture? Why do you think people might do this?
- Platforms: Mac, PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
- Subjects: Social Studies: cultural understanding
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: solving puzzles
Responsibility & Ethics: embracing differences
- Price: $19.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Unity Games
- Release date: August 19, 2014
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures
- ESRB rating: E10+ for Fantasy Violence
- Last updated: November 11, 2020
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