Gearbox Software studios are releasing a cult license from their arsenal three years after the Borderlands 3 attack. genre. Can heroic fantasy be on par with punk apocalyptic?
A “Tina’nesque” adventure
Gearbox software invented Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands like a huge role-playing game on the table with everything that comes with it in terms of twists and narrative structure. The young and special Tina, a charismatic character much loved by fans, is at the helm of a fantastic adventure in which ‘noble’ adventurers – the Hands of Destiny – face the Dragon Lord himself. The power of the story lies in the narrator’s ability to change the rules during the game and adapt the story to her mood. Tina is known for being unpredictable and doing what she wants under all circumstances. She proves that once again.
The screenplay, like the author Tina, is deliberately incoherent and shamelessly draws on the works that made the glory of heroic fantasy, but not only. The history of Wonderlands is blowing a breath of fresh air, largely due to an ubiquitous effect of surprise and a supposed desire to get away from it all, even if that means venturing off-piste. Of course, the tone that is so characteristic of the saga is indeed present. The opposite would have been surprising. The humor is often bold, hits hard and usually below the belt, and wants it to be referenced.
Between the nods to popular culture and the “not-so-subtle” art of self-mockery, the screenwriters stroke the players toward the toad. The uninitiated will probably be surprised before adopting or not sticking to this pen, which has contributed to the Borderlands saga’s reputation in the past. The staging, sometimes set back to leave enough room for the gameplay to express itself, connects the epic sequences before being completely defused via a quip or joke that mostly hits its target… the fan. However, the story is sometimes (too) long-winded. Note that the excellent performances of the French dubbing actors manage to transcribe the tone, and thus the humor, so peculiar to the game.
A fantastic potpourri
Gearbox Software trades their traditional punk-apocalyptic framework for that of heroic fantasy. The artists allow themselves and rightly all fantasies, even the most improbable, to design a universe conducive to a change of scenery. Piracy, Ancient Egypt, Atlantis, The Lord of the Rings, etc. Tiny Tina openly draws on many myths and other great works – literary and cinematic – to enrich a world that emphasizes discovery. Stalking for hours in semi-open environments to find various collectibles and launch new missions is still relevant.
Gearbox Software even adds a new layer that connects these different areas, which are huge and generous in content. This overlay called Overworld is a playful projection of the universe created by Tiny Tina. The adventurers move there in real time in a “chibi” version, which makes the Wonderlands all the more concrete and interesting to explore. However, the loss of time caused by the obligatory tours between the main places turns a nice idea on paper into a brake on the increase in the power of the characters, despite the wealth that this Overworld brings.
Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands has a solid technical foundation on which a smooth and bug-free gaming experience is built. Progress in the adventure is smooth, without delays and other inconveniences of the genre. The title developed by Gearbox Software is not and does not try to be at the cutting edge of technology, but stands out for its always seductive Cel Shading artistic direction and polished visual effects. The simple pleasure of wandering in this colorful universe guides players through their epic.
The Paths of Action
The formula Gearbox Software has developed in the Borderlands saga has certainly evolved over time, transforming one installment after another, but in many ways it stays true to its origins. Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands does not revolutionize the Looter-Shooter in any way, and is fundamentally based on the pillars of the genre, and in particular those inherited from its elders. Once in the game, fans will no doubt find their habits as the gameplay is reminiscent of Borderland 3†
Firearms, magical powers and hand-to-hand combat collide in well-rounded and often epic battles against a diverse bestiary. Unfortunately, despite the fantasy setting, melee attacks are consistently lagging. Gearbox Software is missing a golden opportunity to redefine the spin-off time of the Looter-Shooter recipe. It’s still fun to face hundreds of enemies, mainly thanks to the firearms feel and abilities with devastating effects. However, the gameplay loop suffers from a certain repetition inherent in the genre.
As fun as the title published by 2K Games is in solo, the adventure gains intensity when shared. Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands is playable from 1 to 4 players, and it is in this and no other way that the game should be explored in both collaboration and competition. The difference lies in the simple fact that you may or may not share the loot once the enemies are defeated. As for the Shooter dimension, the adventure designed by Gearbox Software relies (too much) on bases that have proven themselves in the past and that never really break free.
The Call of the Booty
The novelties related to this spin-off of the Borderlands saga can be found on the side of both cosmetic and playful adjustments of the avatar. At this point, Gearbox Software hasn’t cut things in half yet. On the contrary, the studios add different mechanics to the formula of role-playing games and highly anticipated by fans. It is now possible to create a character completely. To do this, many customization options allow players to customize the hero’s face, morphology, armor, and decorations, in addition to the predefined sets in previous installments of the franchise.
Gearbox Software has always made a point of providing an increasingly rich RPG dimension, and this includes increasing the power of the embodied character. In addition to gaining experience and gaining new passive and/or active skills, there is a multi-class system that radically changes the situation by giving players more and more options to build a unique Hand of Destiny. Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands thinks big and applies its vision of role-playing with a certain panache. The loot is not left out, let alone take center stage. As for looting, you’ll be looting hundreds if not thousands of gear and other weapons.
However, this almost endless quest for power comes up against a sometimes frustrating limit. The rewards awarded by the system sometimes struggle to match the character forged over long hours. Finally, the loot paths stretch as far as the eye can see here with a completely redesigned End Game. The Chaos Room will open once the main campaign is over. Taking the form of dungeons adorned with several new bosses, these tests symbolize this Looter dimension advocated by the studios and give the reckless a reason to continue the adventure.
- The tone and unpredictability of the story being told
- The referenced universe
- Colored the artistic direction in Cel Shading
- French dubbing
- The Fierce Battle Against a Renewed Bestiary
- Playful and cosmetic customization of avatars (character editor, multiple classes, loot, etc.)
- The Endgame (The Chaos Room)
- Multiplayer (up to 4 players)
- The excellent longevity
- A humor that will not please everyone
- A story that is sometimes secondary and too extensive
- Unused melee attacks
- The replay of the gameplay loop
- An accessory Overworld
Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands is nothing less than the worthy heir to the Borderlands saga. Titled Gearbox Software, it takes the Looter-Shooter’s codes and doesn’t make them its own without bringing several new features starting with the character editor, multi-class system, and endgame. This fantastic spin-off also stands out from its predecessors with its epic and light-hearted story, its unpredictable narration and its ultra-referenced universe, but retains its artistic direction that is still so appealing and this impression of forging its own playful destiny . Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands is recommended primarily for Borderlands fans, but should also appeal to heroic fantasy fans and curious players.
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