Tiny Tinas Wonderlands are heroes of power and magic evaluation
Games

Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands are heroes of power and magic. evaluation

played on Xbox series S

Even if you don’t take part in a board game in Dungeons & Dragons yourself, it can be fascinating to watch from the side. If the master knows his craft and comes up with an interesting story, and the participants have a rich imagination, then success is guaranteed. That’s why the board game-inspired add-on Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep to Borderlands 2 is so well done – perfectly combining the idea of ​​D&D with the extravagance the series is famous for. With Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands, this idea was developed as a separate standalone game.

Borda, but not that

It’s worth saying right away that despite the lack of the word Borderlands in the title, it’s in many ways a plain old “plank” – with grotesque characters, similar gameplay and characteristic humor. Here, too, there are loudly screaming “freaks”, there are also midgets and muscular men with wings – there is still practically no room for subtle humor, it should be funny the second when another pearl is spoken or someone shouts to you.

    The places are very colourful.

The places are very colourful.

Personally, with Borderlands 3, I quickly got tired of it – what worked well in the sequel seemed strained and flat in the third part. In Wonderlands everything stays the same but looks fresher as the jokes are somehow related to the board. Everything that happens is a pipe dream of Tiny Tina, who places the characters on the map and moves them as she pleases. The master of hers isn’t the most outstanding: she either forgets to add the cave she wants, or instead of removing junk from the map, she pretends that this is part of the game and develops a quest related to it. But that’s the beauty of it.

With all the follies, unexpected appearances of characters and sudden changes in the environment, no justifications for the plot are needed – the master just wanted it that way, period. This completely frees the developers from the hands, which is especially noticeable in side quests, where there are a large number of character – from a proud model who wants to see his statues in different corners of the map, to goblins who started a revolution. That’s why the level of absurdity here is even higher than usual – and maybe that’s why the humor works a little better compared to the third part.

    It wasn't entirely without clichés and platitudes, but that seems to be a

It wasn’t without clichés and banalities, but that seems to be a “trick” of the series

Many familiar elements of the series remain, but they look and are called differently. Control points – signs of fate, instead of shields – amulets. There are no more grenades – now we use magic. We can summon pets that will suck the life energy out of enemies or fly through them and deal damage. And we can shower opponents with poisonous or fiery projectiles. As with any equipment, spells are scattered around every corner, so you can change them like gloves and add variety to the gameplay with your own hands.

Another notable change concerns melee combat – now the inventory has a place for a full-fledged melee weapon (before that, in the series, as we recall, all “melee” was reduced to a single separate hotkey). Swords, hammers, axes – they all have different properties and give certain bonuses. Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands has quite a few enemies who prefer to fight at close range, and thanks to the addition of weapons, fights with them are more fun – you can quickly finish off a weakened enemy or simply stun them to buy time.

    Enemies can be very funny - the way these mushrooms tease the player never gets bored

Enemies can be very funny – the way these mushrooms tease the player never gets bored

new faces

Well, it wasn’t without class abilities. Not a single Vault Hunter made it in Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands, we create our own hero – just like in board games. First we decide on the class, then we choose a biography (affects the basic parameters), allocate points for strength, agility, endurance and other qualities. The main ones are the classes, of which there are six and each has one passive skill and two active skills.

For example, the Messermancer deals critical damage more frequently and also summons a spinning blade in place and can go into the shadows to attack unexpectedly – both skills are very useful. And the magician can use two spells and turn almost any target into a lamb – it flies above the ground and cannot react to your attacks in any way. It was these two classes that I combined when the game allowed me to do so at the twelfth level. Over time, you’ll be able to experiment with other classes thanks to the Perestroika stations, which also returned from previous games in the series.

    It wasn't entirely without clichés and platitudes, but that seems to be a

Subtitles make you look at this screenshot differently

A huge arsenal, still consisting of spontaneously generated weapons, has not disappeared. Pistols, machine guns, shotguns, sniper rifles – even though the two guns look the same, they shoot completely differently. Some – in bursts, others – with fiery projectiles flying in an arc, others – with something like discs. Different shooting modes, different bonuses, different sighting options – the set of weapons in the inventory is constantly updated, and at the same time the approach to the next shootout changes. Well, target freezing is still fun – now those ice statues can be spectacularly shattered with a luxurious sword, as if it was the stuff of a teenage fantasy.

But over time, this fun process becomes increasingly monotonous. The levels are structurally similar to those we’ve seen in the licensed installments of the series: in most cases, this is a run from one marker to another, often punctuated by gunfights. Clear the arena, protect the object from the crowd of enemies, defeat the boss – everything is standard and fed up even in the third part. But a little more attention was paid to the study – there are a lot of collectibles here, and it is exciting to look for hidden cubes with prizes.

    Many side quests are completed directly on the world map

Many side quests are completed directly on the world map

It turned out to be a good idea to add a map that allows the player to get to new places: in the top view we control our own character, going through a maze of paths, caves, heroes issuing quests, and so on. This card is a paradise for lovers of “collecting”. There are dice that give bonuses and restoring altars by finding fragments and hidden chests with gold. It seems like a strange solution to add random battles (just like in the Pokemon series games, when you walk through tall grass and an enemy can attack you at any time) – when you enter a battle, you will be thrown into a boring one Arena and you must defeat all of them. Experience for such battles is not enough, equipment is enough without – fortunately, these random events are easily avoided.

But for those who don’t have time to get bored with shooting until the end of the storyline, there’s great news – the endgame in Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands is one of the best in the series. Here we introduced something called Chaos Levels, which affect the complexity of combat in procedurally generated arenas. Along with an increase in enemy health, the chance of dropping better items increases, and even cooler gear appears only at the twentieth – highest – difficulty level. It’s more fun than what Borderlands 3 offered, but it’s not entirely clear why the New Game+ mode wasn’t added at the outset – it would be an alternative for those looking to enjoy the campaign for one to replay already pumped heroes.

    I wasn't scared, and you don't have to fight with such

I wasn’t scared, and you don’t have to fight with such

***

Borderlands 3 felt like a forced release, released simply because fans were clamoring for the next installment. Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands, on the other hand, looks like a project that was much more interesting for the developers themselves to create. It can be seen that the team had a lot of creative freedom, allowing them to implement several fresh ideas that made the gameplay more exciting. This applies to research, shootouts, and endgames. The level of Borderlands 2 was again not reached, but this does not make the game much worse – at least I want to wait for DLC this time.

Advantages:

  • good mood, partly consisting of jokes about parlor games;
  • Innovations like spells and melee weapons fit well into the familiar action formula;
  • beautiful locations inhabited by various enemies;
  • not a bad idea when studying top view world map;
  • great endgame.

Disadvantage:

  • Mission design hasn’t changed and still makes gameplay monotonous;
  • the interface is overloaded in places;
  • no New Game+.

graphic

Without a microscope, you won’t understand how Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands graphically differs from the third part. The visual style is the same, only the scenery is now fantasy.

sound

The actors are still well chosen and for the most part don’t irritate – you have to listen to them a lot and also read the subtitles.

single player game

The solo feel is pretty much the same as the numbered Borderlands – if you found those games boring on your own, then it will be the same here.

Estimated travel time

25 hours for a story run, 40+ hours for clearing and dozens more hours for the endgame.

collective game

Traditionally, co-op is instant, but now it’s cross-platform too.

overall impression

Fresh and well-executed ideas made Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands much funnier than Borderlands 3, but it still falls short of the level of a sequel.

Rating: 8.0/10

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About the author

Alan Foster

Alan Foster covers computers and games and all the news in the gaming industry.

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