I must admit, I'm a sucker for anything that's related to Norse mythology, so I was absolutely delighted when I was given the chance to try out Tiny Thor on Nintendo Switch. Developed by Asylum Square and published by Gameforge, Tiny Thor is a 16-bit 2D platform game, and it's available now on Windows PC and Nintendo Switch, as well as on Mobile devices.
As the title would suggest, players take on the role of the God of Thunder himself except that you’re not quite old enough to be the God of Thunder just yet. The story opens on your 8th Birthday where the Allfather Odin gifts you the legendary hammer Mjölnir. While Thor is getting to grips with his new toy, he is somehow tricked into destroying the Bifrost which leaves Asgard cut off from the rest of Midgard. Young Thor must now embark on a quest to repair the damage and stop Ragnarök which will bring forth the end of the world.
Gameplay wise, Tiny Thor follows the classic 2D action platforming recipe akin to the likes of Super Mario Bros or Sonic the Hedgehog from the 90s. Players must traverse through over 30 levels of platforming goodness using the magic hammer to kill enemies and solve puzzles along the way. Sounds cute right? And it is, but don’t let the cuteness fool you. Tiny Thor is extremely challenging, to the point where it almost felt unfair at times. You will die and die, and then die some more as you jump, double-jump and dash your way through gaps, over spikes and onto rotating platforms.
Each level has hundreds of blue gems you can collect which can be spent to buy upgrades in an attempt to make your journey a little bit easier. You also have the option to collect 3 red gems per level which can be used to unlock “skill test” levels. These are ridiculously tough no-checkpoint runs where you have to time every move to perfection in order to complete. Thor will die with one hit from an enemy or if you touch some spikes unless you have already collected a heart. If you take a hit after collecting the heart, said heart will jump out of Tiny Thor's body, at which point a timer will start. If you can grab the heart again before the timer runs out, you will retain that extra hit, but if not then its gone and you are back to one hit kills. It is a similar health system to Yoshi’s Island.
The level designs are really impressive with a big variety of different jumps and puzzling terrain to fight your way through. However, my experience was dulled somewhat by the inconsistency of the move set. Sometimes I could double jump after a dash but sometimes I could only single jump. Sometimes I could dash, jump then dash again, but sometimes I couldn’t. Sometimes I could perform a dash from a wall jump, and sometimes I couldn’t. Now this may well have been a skill issue on my part but it certainly felt like the controls were failing me and it made for a much more frustrating experience than it should have been.
Though there are no difficulty options to adjust, Tiny Thor does allow you to enable Assist Mode which can be used to change some of the physics, such as being able to jump higher or being able to stick to walls for longer, and you can even turn on permanent invincibility should you wish.
Visually, Tiny Thor looks glorious with its 16-bit pixel art style graphics. The environments look amazing with so many little details added to make for a truly wonderful platforming experience. Animations are smooth and there is a wide variety of colours used to make this an absolute treat for your eyes. The soundtrack is equally wonderful and is perfectly matched with the visuals.
To wrap things up, Tiny Thor is an absolute gem of a 2D platformer. It has great retro vibes which really took me back to playing some classic platform games of the 90s. The only place it drops marks for me is the inconsistency in the controls which made things super frustrating at times. Other than that, I would put Tiny Thor right up there with the best platformers I have played. I can’t recommend it enough, but be prepared for a challenge as this is no walk in the park.
PaultheBrave09's Rating: 4 out of 5.
For more information on Tiny Thor please use the following links...
Many thanks to Uber Strategist for the Review Key.