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Its often difficult to accurately review games that are in early access because, as the description suggests, there’s a lot more to be added to the game that, while playable, is still being developed. Tinkertown, from Headup, is no exception to this rule, but does an impressive job in presenting what it has to offer, what needs serious improvements, and what we can expect in later updates. As a multiplayer RPG sandbox game that draws connections to titles like Terraria with its extensive crafting, the original Legend of Zelda for its exploration, and Stardew Valley due to its laidback RPG approach, Tinkertown is ambitious even in these early stages.
Survive in the Medieval Wilds
The setting for this title is clear-cut and simple: choose your class as a rogue, warrior, wizard, or your own hybrid, build your base while utilizing a crafting system with creativity in mind, and brave the wilderness, brimming with danger in various biomes and dungeons but with loot to match.
The weapons and tools you’re able to create in the beginning won’t last forever. Harvesting materials through mining or combat is your best bet at survival in a progression system that favors exploration.
Tinkertown’s crown jewel at this point in development is its crafting system. Yes, the number of craftable is mind bogglingly high, but the actual design of the system and the detail that’s gone into crafting are two facets that steal the show. Within the first ten minutes of playing, you will quickly come to realize that your imagination will be the primary driver for what you can create – at least once there is a full release. However, even in this form, being able to craft home décor like chairs or bookshelves and seeing the progression from wood tools/weapons/armor to copper, iron, or even cactus ones drove me to keep experimenting to see what was possible. Currently, there is a relatively short list of available materials to craft with, but the sheer number of ways those materials can be used is worth tracking this game for itself. The future for a system with this level of care is certainly bright.
Brave the Wilderness
The procedurally generated world set before you in the realms of Tinkertown hold a similar feeling of the great unknown that I’ve felt before in The Legend Of Zelda and Zork. An odd combination, but the somewhat unforgiving vibes of Zelda, especially when first booting up a new game, are palpable to Tinkertown’s wilds and pair nicely with the nonlinear feeling of Zork. That being said, there are three major biomes to explore, forest, desert, and frozen mountains, along with dangerous dungeons scattered throughout. Most forms of combat are based in either ranged magic/bow attacks, or close quarters with swords. While crafting newer/better items or finding loot is rewarding, combat is currently simplistic – no real tactics aside from strike and flee are necessary.
Revel in the World of Tinkertown
The final piece of this title that encapsulates its character is that, outside of fighting off hordes of goblins or delving into dark dungeons, your home base/habitat promotes a feeling of tranquility. There’s a long list of base building activities to partake in to make your land feel like home, and there are even machines you can craft to assist you in working on these sorts of tasks.
Each activity is important in its own way, but in true Stardew Valley fashion, the only expectation of expediency set on you is from your own desires and goals. Put this aside and you know that the world of dungeon destruction and world exploration can wait, you’ve got all the time in the town to work.
- Extensive Crafting System
- Acquiring materials is satisfying, not a grind
- Laid back experience, no hand holding, but doesn’t leave you clueless
- Detailed world with unique art style
- Multiplayer included and is encouraged
- Still in early access, overall play time only around 5-10 hours
- Limited content
- Combat system is basic, no real pattern/strategy
- Several frustrating bugs due to early access