It should really come as no surprise, but with their latest game Tiny Castle, Nitrome has once again proven themselves to be one of the kings of original content. Tiny Castle is a challenging platformer that breaks from convention and offers up something truly unique: rather than progressing from stage to stage, you’ll stay in one gigantic room that will transform to present you with new challenges as you progress.
As a young knight you’re attempting to reach the castle’s maiden who is locked away in a cage dangling from the ceiling. To reach her you’ll need to navigate the one massive, ever-changing room that is Tiny Castle. You’ll climb ladders, slay creatures, and find keys to unlock doors. All the basics of the platform genre are here. Movement is controlled with the arrow keys, and your hero can attack by tapping Z. It’s simple, it’s smooth, it’s precise — but what sets this one apart isn’t the controls, it’s the environment.
As you progress through the game you’ll see the castle change over and over again as it offers up new areas to explore. The environment must change a dozen times during the course of the game. Platforms crumble, areas flood, lights go out – every manner of game changer is introduced, and every time it offers up a new set of simple objectives to tackle. In the dark? You’ll need to light all of the candles. Flooded? You’ll need to swim past dangerous fish to find safety. The changes are paced out at smart intervals and the figuring out what to do is never too complicate, so new content is never more than a few minutes away.
In order to accommodate this large, ever-changing play area, everyone and everything in Tiny Castle is incredibly tiny. Your hero, the princess, all of the bad guys and obstacles – they’re miniscule. So much so that it can put a minor strain on the eyes. Playing with such tiny pieces can be great fun, and seeing the entire level to figure out solutions is an absolute treat – but as a typical four-eyed nerd I can honestly say that Tiny Castle might have been a little too tiny for my poor bespectacled eyes.
Despite my ocular impairments, there’s no denying that Tiny Castle is a fantastic experience from beginning to end. The game also has a terrific sense of humour once you’ve completed the adventure. I don’t want to spoil anything for you, so I’ll simply say this: sometimes a story isn’t quite what it seems. The laughs I got at the end of the game were more than enough to justify the 30 minutes I spent getting there.
All in all Tiny Castle is a simple yet engaging puzzle platformer with a unique ‘one room’ concept that delighted me throughout. Nitrome’s genius is often met with incredibly difficult gameplay, but that’s not the case here. Accessible and charming, we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Tiny Castle to anyone looking for a great new flash platformer.