Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Review: Tiny Brains

7:00 AM on 12.03.2013 // Chris Carter

A four-player bash

Couch co-op is sadly rare these days. Although I grew up playing games locally throughout my entire childhood, more often than not, split- or same-screen play is axed in favor of packing in more online features. Whether it's by way of "conserving resources" or pure laziness, it's becoming increasingly difficult to entertain a room full of people with videogames.

Thankfully, Spearhead Games' Tiny Brains opts for the best of both worlds, with both local and online play capabilities. Oh, and it's also a ton of fun -- with or without friends.

Tiny Brains (PC, PS3, PS4 [reviewed], Xbox 360)
Developer: Spearhead Games
Publisher: 505 Games
Release Date: December 3, 2013 (PS4) / TBA (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
MSRP: $19.99

The concept of Tiny Brains is rather simple -- a (mostly) mad scientist has created what he refers to as the "ultimate life forms," called the "Tiny Brains," who each tout a unique super-power. There's Dax the bat with the ability to push objects; Stew the rabbit with a vacuum ability; Minsc the hamster who can create platforms to jump on; and Pad the mouse with the curious ability to switch places with any object. You'll start the game inside of a miniature testing center, tasked with solving your overlord's devious danger rooms, and things unhinge from there. At first, puzzles are simple enough to solve by using one, or maybe two critters per room -- but the difficulty slowly ramps up to the point where you'll need to consistently use all four.

What I love most about the game is the fact that it's all action oriented. For instance, you may need to switch to Minsc to create a platform, then jump on it as Dax, and push it off a platform with his force powers. If you're playing solo you can switch between each character with the L1/R1 buttons, and the puzzles will adjust themselves automatically to suit a one-player experience -- it even goes so far as to adjust in real time to accommodate for drop-in/drop-out co-op, which is a very cool feature. But the real draw of the game is playing it with friends, which you can do either off or online in any combination up to four players.

Party play is where Tiny Brains really shines, as it presents the ability to solve puzzles in pretty much any manner you can dream up. For the purposes of this review I tested both the solo campaign and local co-op, and found both of them to be vastly different experiences even though the game technically offers the same rooms. When playing with friends, I had co-op partners deduce new ways to solve each room that I hadn't even thought of -- an experience that happened consistently. I was immediately reminded of some of the more genius puzzles in the Portal series, which similarly had a host of different ways to approach the same problem.

Tiny Brains has a really odd story that's not laugh-out-loud funny, but it's interesting, nonetheless. As your ragtag group of creatures heads further down into the scientists' secret lab, you'll uncover new secrets, hidden Easter eggs, and a plot that would suit a typical Saturday morning cartoon -- with a slice of the macabre and a dash of "disturbing." It teeters the edge of cute and terrifying, and it's an interesting mix of styles that's worth watching.

The visuals don't exactly look like they're taking full advantage of the PS4's power, but I enjoyed the interesting color scheme that pretty much uses every hue in the book. Although I didn't encounter any game-breaking issues per se, there is a slight hiccup in the multiplayer mode. Specifically, the game freezes for a few seconds while collecting a piece of cheese (Tiny Brain's hidden collectible) -- it's not a huge deal, just something to be aware of.

Control-wise Tiny Brains is essentially perfect, with a simple scheme that only involves jumping, switching characters, and using your one power, with the added ability to use the touchpad to "mark" parts of the map. Switching is instantaneous, and allows you to have pinpoint accuracy when tackling the game's puzzles. To be clear, not once did I feel like it was the game's fault for failure. As an added bonus, the Vita can be used as a controller -- which really helps alleviate a lack of additional DualShock 4s for the brand new PS4.

The story is short at a mere three hours in length, but there's lots of content to keep you busy, including challenge maps (which really shine in multiplayer), some of which are skewed towards score-attack goals. After you complete the campaign you'll have access to two more modes: "Troll," which lets you attack your co-op partners, and "Jules," which puts you in the shoes of a single character that can use every power at once. There's also a soccer mini-game that's strictly multiplayer, and 20 collectibles to find throughout the game. Should you have some partners in crime at your disposal, your playtime will be lengthened considerably.

Although its core campaign is far too short, the game is a blast with other players, and the wide variety of challenges should keep you playing for hours. Despite the fact that my time with these tiny adora-creepy critters was rather brief, I'd love to see them again in a sequel someday.



Tiny Brains - Reviewed by Chris Carter
Charming - Not perfect, but it's easy to ignore the rough spots when faced with so many engaging design decisions and entertaining moments. A memorable game that's hard not to like and recommend to others.

See more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.

Chris Carter, Reviews Director
 Follow Blog + disclosure DtoidChris Tips
Chris (Magnalon) has been enjoying Destructoid avidly since 2008. He finally decided to take the next step, make an account, and start blogging in January of 2009. Now, he's staff! -----------... more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

destructoid's previous coverage:
Tiny Brains

  Jan 15

Spearhead Games launches weekly community stream

The studio has learned a lot from crafting their first game

View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:

Please contact Crave Online, thanks!

I Haz Kickstarter!

Cblogs of 11/27/15 - Life is Strange, and Sad

Top 5 Reasons Star Wars Battlefront KICKS ASS!

Attack of the Friday Monsters: A Little Slice of Childhood

Top 5 Reasons Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 IS AWESOME!

Cblogs of 11/26/15 + Combat Heropon-isms

Video games go mainstream

I’m Not a SJW, I’m an Anthropologist: Making the Case for Diversity in Games

Insidia REVIEW - A whole dark, gloomy, and kinda creepy world to explore

DS REVIEWS: Trace Memory

 Add your impressions

Status updates from C-bloggers

Parismio avatarParismio
Went snowboarding for the first time in years. Crashed a lot, many times into trees. All that training in FF7 didnt do squat!
Amna Umen avatarAmna Umen
If I were to get Age of Empires II HD to play with you all, do you all have the DLC?
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
I am relieved to know Creed is a Rocky spin-off and not a feature-length documentary about the band.
Steven Hansen avatarSteven Hansen
the worst thing about that jesssica jones program is i keep getting "basketball jones" stuck in my head
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
Been playing Gears of War 3's campaign on Xbox One. Looks great on there, and Sam's voice actor is Chloe's voice actor in Uncharted 2/3. Hell yeah!
Archelon avatarArchelon
Community Question: With all the controversy surrounding review scores, what do you personally consider a "bad" score versus a "good" score? Is there a game in particular that was panned by critics that you nevertheless enjoyed? Or vice versa?
TheVeganGamer avatarTheVeganGamer
Finally got around to playing Diablo 3 with some friends, holy smokes! That game is rad!
SpielerDad avatarSpielerDad
Public service announcement: Marry an orphan. It makes the holidays so much easier when you don't have to deal with pain in the ass in-laws.
Nekrosys avatarNekrosys
So... how long is it until we get the inevitable Colonial Marines or Ride to Hell: Retribution PS4/Xbox One re-releases?
SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
Screw Bloodborne. I finally managed to overcome not tearing up while listening to the entirety of Never More. Git gud! [youtube][/youtube]
NYCpunk avatarNYCpunk
you know what's not okay? scalpers with 10 copies of fire emblem fates SE on ebay for $200+. and no one is saying anything.
ChrisHannard avatarChrisHannard
Fallout 4 wouldn't be Fallout with ridiculous glitches and shenanigans. Here are a few I've run into - [youtube][/youtube]
StriderHoang avatarStriderHoang
I've never earnestly went drinking before so it's cool to know I'm the slow, sleepy, impaired type.
The Dyslexic Laywer avatarThe Dyslexic Laywer
Got to admit I didn't expect to find a mewtwo amiibo at my bookstore of all places...
Mike Martin avatarMike Martin
My cousin found out I slept with his girlfriend and is pissed. Understandable. I am totally sick of the angry phone calls though. It reminds me so much of playing Call of Duty online. The screaming 11 year olds suck on there too.
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
Huh. Apparently even Japan has a Black Friday sale going on on PSN right now.
Lawman avatarLawman
Yes, Resident Evil: Revelations 2, I know that somebody has 2,625 more medallions than me. No, Resident Evil: Revelations 2, I don't really care.
Dr Mel avatarDr Mel
This fucking Bloodborne DLC, jesus. I'm on new game+, about level 90, and shit just tears my dick off. I don't know if I want to start another guy just to avoid NG+ and level him up, etc. sigh....
Shinta avatarShinta
Wii U, top selling black friday item on Take that you anti-Wii U people.
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
I am pretty hyped for when I get a laptop because I'll be able to have a good enough connection to stream XbOne/soon PS4 games to it along with natively rendered Steam games. Hype!
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -