There is a question that is posed to every man in his life. One question that he must endeavor to answer to his own satisfaction and to hell with the naysayers. One choice between confining support or uncertain freedom that will ever after determine the fate of his junk: boxers or briefs? Tiny and Big: Grandpa's Leftovers would emphatically tell you that tighty whiteys are worth fighting for, yet everything about it feels loose, free, and spacious.
Why on Earth are you talking about underwear to describe a 3D platformer/physics puzzler, reviewer? Because in T+B, you play as the titular Tiny, a young man on a quest to recover his grandfather's hand-me-down underpants that have been stolen by an unscrupulous bandito. That's one of those ideas I can't possibly make more ridiculous than the game presents it. And as a framing device, it works. I've played more than a few puzzle games that have forgotten that you need to give your game a definitive character to make it stand out from the piles and piles of mental exercises that boil down to merely an expensive Sudoku. The visual style looks like something Pendleton Ward might come up with if you limited his palette to muted blues and oranges and does a good job of communicating the game's overall character in a sort of graphic novel way. The soundtrack to the game is also special enough to note. It takes the form of cassette tapes that you collect and listen to on your radio and, in addition to providing more reason to explore, covers a wide range of engaging jams from latin beats to funk to rock n' roll.
That's all well and good, but if I'm going to put myself into Grandpa's Leftovers, I'd better get some play and the experience had better feel good! Relax, reader. Thanks to Tiny and Big you'll feel great grabbing your stones and watching them swing free and easy and that's nothing to say about whipping out your rocket and blasting away a huge load. Yes, in Tiny and Big you will use your mining laser to cut up your environment and a winch and rocket to move the pieces you cut into place. What did you think I was talking about? Anyway, the game strikes a nice balance between levels that are more freeform and open, like a sumptuous pair of boxers, and more puzzle-focused linear affairs that are tight and clean, like the familiar TWs. This lets you get the most out of this unique engine as you move between trying to literally carve your own path to your objectives and examining your environment to find just the right object to cut or pull so everything falls into place.
If there's one fault with Tiny and Big, it's that it feels a bit short: five levels and a boss fight. This might be a bit of a dividing point for some players. If you just want to cruise to the end of the game in the most efficient way possible, you'll probably be done in a couple hours. But if you enjoy hunting down tricky secrets and trying to make alternate routes, T + B will occupy you for quite some time. If there are two faults, it's that Grandpa's Leftovers contain a few bugs, which, as you can imagine, can make your experience a bit uncomfortable. None of them are explosively bad, but when you combine them with inevitable physics screw-ups, you'll find yourself losing a little hard-earned progress hunting for the tough secrets or flailing angrily because you've just lost your no-death run of a level. As I've implied, you won't have a lot of issue with them unless you're going for the optional challenges that add a lot of meat to the game.
You can get Grandpa's Leftovers for less than the cost of a fresh bag of undies when it goes on sale and I definitely recommend you do. It's a unique game that delivers on all those promises of "fully destructible environments" that almost always prove to be a disappointment. Most importantly, it's a fun game; fun in the vain of things like Psychonauts. And that's why you should definitely slip into Grandpa's Leftovers.
This game certified by inspector no. 28