Steam Gaming: Tiny Life

Posted on January 12, 2024 by Aywren

Game: Tiny Life
Time Played: 1.2 hours

I originally played Tiny Life as a demo during a Steam NextFest in 2023. While I didn’t think the game was awful, I wasn’t all that inclined to go out and pick it up from what I experienced. The only reason I have it now is because it was part of the Jingle Jam bundle. I decided to give it another try, and have spent a little over an hour with it so far.

Two of my initial issues with the game were:

  • The super basic pixel graphics – I don’t mind pixel art but this was so simplified it was unappealing
  • Lack of AI in the Tiny you were controlling – they did nothing but stand there unless you told them to do other wise

I did find a setting that turned on the Tiny’s AI when you were controlling them, which improved the experience for me. I probably should have looked for that when I played the demo, but really, this should be a setting that’s turned on by default, IMHO.

Overall, the game hearkens back to the original Sims 1. It’s a basic, straightforward household/town simulator without all the bells and whistles we’ve come to expect with the newer Sims games. This can be refreshing in a way – I understand the draw of the simplicity of it. But, I couldn’t get over the feeling that it was hard for me to get into this game because I could be spending my time with Sims instead.

While I only played a household with two Tinies in it, the basic mechanics of the game worked well. I only had one issue where the Tinies got into some weird walking loop where they both wanted to interact with each other, and would have infinitely walked in and out of a room trying to do this, until I canceled the interaction.

I also had a situation where one of the Tinies suddenly decided he wanted to visit some distant lot on his own. It didn’t tell me which lot, and I don’t think he actually ever arrived and did anything at the lot, because he spent all his time walking the sidewalks and driving a magically appearing car to get there. Then he needed to use the bathroom, and I guess there wasn’t one on the lot, so he went back home.

There is apparently an open world to the neighborhood based on this, but the time spent travelling between lots made it so the Tiny never experienced anything at the lot he was going to visit. So, while I know Sims gets some flack for Sims “warping” to locations, maybe that’s not such a bad thing in hindsight.

This game is in early access, so the number of furnishings and items felt limited when I looked through the housing menu. I also noticed that some clothing was locked to my Tiny – I’m not sure if this is a case where they actually have to buy the outfit to be able to wear it. But the tiny pixel graphics made it so the clothes they wore were somewhat pointless, anyhow.

I played several days where both Tinies went to the same job – they both were retail workers. I noticed that there were event pop-ups for both of them, and these were very redundant. I believe there were two different events in total, and the outcome was completely RNG. Positive outcomes help with career advancement and negative outcomes hurt the Tiny’s mood – but the outcome was always random, and I don’t think there was a way to skip out of them.

Aside from that, I still can’t connect with these Tinies because of the graphic style. Again, I’m not a graphic snob, and I usually like pixel games, but it’s sometimes hard to see what’s going on in this game. It took me a while to realize when counters or toilets or showers were dirty, for example.

I also find the camera controls a bit clunky, at least if you are used to using a mouse to rotate and move around. There are keybinds to this, and icons you can click on the screen to rotate, but long-time simmers are likely to use the mouse for this. It seems like when you turn the camera with the mouse, the camera resets to a specific location on the lot every time, which gets annoying.

The one thing I am impressed with is the ability for Steam players to create houses and Tinies and share them using the Steam Workshop. I did not try to import anything from the Workshop for my game, but I did browse it and I think this is a great idea. The Sims has always been supported by the modders and creators, so for this game to follow suit with the Steam Workshop is idea.

While part of me wants to give this game more of a chance, I just have so many other games that are begging for my time. I know this game is still evolving through Early Access, and I might come back and check in on it one day. It’s so hard to promise this because while I love the idea of a basic, simple life sim game, the graphics are almost a gamebreaker to me.

Either way you look at it, I don’t feel it’s worth the full price tag at this point. If you can get it in a bundle like I did or get it while it’s on a deep sale, that would be my suggestion.

*|* {January} *|* {2024} *|* {Steam Gaming} *|*