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Est. April 2016. III Version 2.0. III

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TYLER: MODEL 005
Cute, but… nope.  

REVIEW
By JAY TEE
03/09/18

Regardless of your feelings for the end product, the rousing success of Yooka Laylee’s Kickstarter campaign has a seen a welcome resurgence in 3D platformers. A Hat in Time is a particular standout, opening the door for these experiences to return to the mainstream.

Tyler: Model 005 leans more toward the puzzle and exploration end of the spectrum, with an endearing central character and intriguing premise. The tutorial is presented as a dream sequence, introducing you to basic traversal and combat mechanics. Once the game begins anew, your mission is to scour your surroundings, and search for your creator.

Unfortunately, this is where things start to fall apart. There’s an unshakeable sense that this feels like an experimental tech demo; a proof of concept pitch and not quite a full game. There’s nothing inherently wrong with the character or world design, but the experience falls short in a number of areas.  

THE BASICS - Third person puzzle platformer, with combat and customisation.

PLATFORMS - XB1, and PC

PLAYERS - Offline - 1, Online - 0

CO-OP? MULTIPLAYER? - None
 
DOWNLOADABLE CONTENT - None currently announced.

TARPS? - At the bottom of all our reviews, you’ll see a series of absurd looking images (with equally stupid, in joke laden names). These are the TARP badges, which represent our ‘Totally Accurate Rating Platform’. They allow us to identify specific things, recognise positive or negative aspects of a games design, and generally indulge our consistent silliness with some visual tomfoolery.

REVIEWS KEY:

The Look - Art style, graphics, and overall presentation.

The Feel - Mechanics, controls, and learning curve.

The Sound - Music, sound effects, and dialogue.

The Experience - Anecdotes and random thoughts.

He runs out of battery faster than a DualShock 4…

1

2

3

4

5

FINAL SCORE:

AVERAGE CHARMER - It feels like the lions share of visual development effort focused on Tyler’s character model. He’s detailed, with strong lighting design and a hint of cel shading. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the enemy creatures you face, or the world itself. For every surface with detailed textures, there’s something garish or bland that sticks out like a sore thumb.

STUTTER ME TIMBERS - We should note that we’re playing the game on Xbox One X. Right from the opening cinematic, to brief spots during gameplay, framerate performance is an issue. It’s choppy and inconsistent, and for a title that shouldn’t be particularly demanding, this is a massive disappointment.

MUDDY MENUS - The HUD and menu design looks like it was created in Microsoft Paint.

Tyler: Model 005 has a solid premise and a well designed main character. But the technical and gameplay shortcomings are too frequent to ignore.

*Xbox One review code provided by Dead Good Media*

FIDDLY MGEE - While it’s a nice touch to have climbing and vaulting tied to one button, in practice, it’s a fiddly and inconsistent mechanic. You’ll often find yourself pulling off incredible feats of acrobatics in one moment, and then flailing and missing a simple ledge the next.

SIMPLE IS GOOD - As mentioned above, you’re given the broad strokes during a dream sequence tutorial. There’s nothing inherently wrong with the controls, but the lack of feedback and responsiveness in combat, and the frustrating traversal, can make the whole thing feel unpolished and needlessly convoluted.

BUTTON MASH - Surrounded by spiders? Mash the kick button. You’ll be sorted in no time.

SHOULD HAVE GONE TO JTPA - Although it’ll always be a thumbs up from me when a narrative game includes voice acting, the dialogue is poorly written, and the actor spouting Tyler’s inner thoughts isn’t great. His delivery is flat, and the rhythm of is totally off. A huge missed opportunity here.

SIMPLE IS GOOD - The ‘combat’ music gets old VERY quickly, but the subtle use of orchestral backing in key moments is an appreciated flourish. It elevates the game a tad, even if the rest of the package feels like it’s a Unity engine template. Yet again, another example of something that could have been improved.

SOUND OF SILENCE - When you hit an enemy, there is literally no sound effect. Just the sound of Tyler grunting. Weird.

TRIP TUCKER - The first area you’re dropped into is very dark, and therefore it’s not consistently clear what is, and isn’t, climbable. Normally, this sort of trial and error approach can be rewarding, but when you’re constantly fighting curious design choices and unresponsive mechanics, it too often leads to frustration.

DURACELL BUNNY - Tyler is powered by light energy, with a steadily decreasing metre that drains faster the more he exerts himself. This ‘ticking clock’ mechanic would be a cool way to raise the stakes… if it didn’t punish you for exploring! You’ll be trying to dig around the environment, only to suddenly run out of power and die, because you couldn’t run back to a light in time. Eurgh.

REDEEM ME QUICK - I appreciated the ‘no hand holding’ approach to your current objective.

LET US KNOW YOUR THOUGHTS ON THIS ARTICLE!
LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW, TWEET US @JAYTEE_GA, OR E-MAIL: EDITOR@JTGA.CO.UK.

TARP BADGES:

The SHODDY CODDY badge is for a game that includes mechanics or controls that just don’t feel right.

The LAME WAD badge is used in the event a game has particularly bad dialogue or cheesy voice acting that distracts from the story.

The OOBLEH! badge is for a game that has a dodgy or inconsistent framerate.

The SLIM PICKINGS badge is for a game that is lacking in content.

The BEN’S PISS CUP badge is for inexcusably lazy game design that both confuses and infuriates.

The THEY’VE FU**ED IT badge is for a game that really should have been so much better…

The LAWBREAKERS badge is for a game that is unlikely to get long term player support.

BAD