If you have ever played a spot the difference puzzle game, popular in both children’s activity books and newspapers, you’ll fundamentally understand what Tiny Lands is all about. However, developer Hyper Three Studios has added a twist to this classic game. Published by Maple Whispering Limited, Tiny Lands offers players a relaxing, low-poly isometric puzzle game with up to fifty levels to puzzle out.
Much like any other spot the difference game, Tiny Lands offers two pictures of the same scene and asks players to find five differences between them. However, these scenes are completely 3D, allowing players to turn them around and zoom in and out. This small difference produces an amazing experience and a great challenge. This 3D environment challenges players to look at each scene differently, adjusting the angle to pick up differences throughout the stage.
Five themes are available. From a spooky Halloween theme to an icy world, each theme is unique enough to provide a new experience. Only a single theme is unlocked at the start, but within each theme are ten different levels. With up to fifty levels in total, each one is surprisingly unique. Examples of levels include a placid scene of outdoor grilling, a spooky graveyard, a mystical summoning, a fairytale island, and a battle against ogres and animated skeletons.
Each level has five differences players will need to find. These differences usually involve an object being at a different angle, size, or color. Personally, I really didn’t have any trouble finding these differences. However, I can see where some of the color differences may be a problem for anyone who is color blind. Unfortunately, there is currently no colorblind mode available. In general, some levels were harder than the rest, especially as they became busier. So zooming in is a must, but I never found myself getting stuck for long.
Each difference found awards a single star. Stars are used to unlock other themes, with each unlock requiring more stars to unlock the next. While the aim of the game is to gather stars so you can unlock all the themes, you aren’t required to find all the differences in a level to move on. While the first theme is relatively easy, other themes provide more of a challenge with more intricate levels. If you find yourself stuck, you can just move onto the next level with few repercussions.
While you can move on if you get stuck, there is no help or hints to utilize if you really get stuck. The only counter to this is that there aren’t any consequences to clicking on the wrong objects. So trial and error will likely be sufficient enough to overcome any stumbling points.
The puzzles themselves are relatively easy, and because of this, they’re soothing to work through. The ambiance of each level only adds to this relaxing game. The forest levels are inundated by soft music and the sounds of birds and bubbling water. While some of the other levels, like the Halloween themed ones, have spookier music, it’s never to the point where it breaks this calming ambiance. Especially since many of these levels have rain, and the pitter-patter of the rain acts as a backdrop to the rest of the music.
The main downside to all these levels is that the replayability is very low. The differences don’t change when you replay a level. Even though there are plenty of levels to play, it won’t take more than a couple of hours to get through all the stages.
Nevertheless, Tiny Lands is a very relaxing experience. The stages have an ambiance about them that creates a soothing atmosphere, and, in conjunction with the easy puzzles, it’s a game that has low expectations and lets players wash away the stress of daily life.
Tiny Lands is available on January 22nd on PC.
Tiny Lands is a very relaxing experience. The stages have an ambiance about them that creates a soothing atmosphere, and, in conjunction with the easy puzzles, it’s a game that has low expectations and lets players wash away the stress of daily life.