Tinkertown – Preview
Follow Genre: Sandbox, Survival
Developer: Headup Games
Publisher: Headup Games
Platform: PC
Tested On: PC

Tinkertown – Preview

Good: Great art, good sound
Bad: Very early in development
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Rating: 8.0/10 (1 vote cast)

The sandbox genre has been quite popular for a long time, seeing loads of games released under this gaming format. Although the most trodden path has been that of 3D worlds, there still are 2D sandboxes out there, with Tinkertown being one of such. Focusing on co-op, Tinkertown has recently come out in Early Access; here is what it has to offer.

Tinkertown has no story; players are dropped in the middle of nowhere and left out to their own devices, similar to other games in the genre. This doesn’t change later on either, remaining without cutscenes, lore or explanation. All this is understandable though, seeing as in most sandbox games the story is supposed to come from the player’s own experiences, raiding dungeons, defeating monsters, etc.

The game’s graphics are made in a very pretty high-density pixel art with a great number of details, which is combined with occasional 3D models here and there. Currently containing 3 different biomes, Tinkertown already features a good amount of different enemy designs, which vary in each environment. There is also a tad of character customization, although at the moment it only features a few alternative colors and haircuts.

Tinkertown’s sound is surprisingly complex for the current state of the game: There are unique SFX for each breakable object and enemy, on top of all of the different areas containing their own unique tracks. That said, certain sounds can be somewhat outlandish, such as the one employed for jumps, which could have been featured in a Mario game without anyone noticing.

As already mentioned, Tinkertown belongs to the sandbox genre, particularly to the survival open-world kind with crafting. What this entails is that players must go from area to area, gathering resources to build their equipment and houses. As is a staple for the genre, these resources can be obtained by destroying the environment, such as trees or ores, or killing enemies.

At first, players will need to focus on obtaining tools to gather better resources, starting with axes and pickaxes. When comparing the two, pickaxes shine for their importance, with most recipes requiring materials only obtainable by mining, while the axe only provides wood and can be forgotten.

With the materials obtained from mining and lumbering, players can then proceed to improve their tools and craft new things through several crafting stations; each with their own recipes. By improving their tools, these increase in efficiency, allowing players to harvest better resources and deal more damage to enemies.

While Tinkertown does contain a combat system, it is as barebones as it gets. Players can use their tools to swing at enemies, dealing damage depending on what they are holding. After a set time, the enemy will flash red and proceed to attack. Soon enough, the battle will become a back and forth between attacking and moving out of the enemy’s range, prompting a wild goose chase around the areas. Fighting a group of enemies is even easier, contrary to what one may think, due to their ability to hit each other. The game also contains a semblance of ranged combat, mainly coming in the shape of a bow and only further emphasizing the necessity to move in order to dodge.

Most of the enemy pathing in Tinkertown is also quite broken, with monsters often getting stuck on objects or each other. This, combined with the fact that almost all of them are limited to an area of movement, makes the combat extremely cheesable. By reaching the zone where an enemy cannot further progress, players may proceed to slay almost all enemies without counterattack.

There is an exception to this though: the fearsome sandworms. These enemies seem to lack any movement limitations and will chase players from side to side of the map; only stopping upon getting stuck.  While killing them might seem like the simplest solution, this couldn’t be further from the truth, since killing a sandworm becomes an exercise of patience when not nigh impossible: the only moment they may receive damage is upon attacking, when they lunge at the player and proceed to deal massive amounts of contact damage.

Tinkertown also features dungeons, which can be found at random on the map, containing a few enemies, random drops and a boss at the end. Clearly a work in progress, these dungeons offer nothing that cannot be found outside them: the random items in the crates can at best be health potions and the final boss only drops a negligible amount of different ores. It should be mentioned this is common to most enemies as well, only a few dropping special materials. Luckily, an update to these dungeons seems to be coming soon in the game’s Early Access roadmap.

As mentioned earlier, the game announces itself as being focused on its co-op, although this couldn’t be further from the truth. Having more than one player provides barely any bonuses other than in combat. Due to the nature of the game, staying together is not encouraged at all; with both finite resources and map, players will be more successful by splitting to explore, the only use for a house being a storage place.


Tinkertown is an alright game that seems to have good ideas, although it is definitely too early to judge. Despite having good foundations, it is still quite barebones; most of its mechanics being incomplete. At $/€16.99/£13.99 for an Early Access title, the game is simply too expensive to recommend to anyone other than those really interested in seeing it develop from the ground up.

Personal Opinion

“While I don’t dislike Tinkertown, I do think it is very incomplete and offers almost nothing to do in its current state. The only objective it provides is upgrading the pickaxe, only to upgrade it further until the gold level is reached. After this, players can then proceed to build a little house and close the game, for there will be nothing left to do. The strongest armor can be obtained from the start of the game, made up of bones that literally appear in the spawn area and once a bow is built even the woeful sandworms can “easily” be beaten. Why the quotation marks? Because doing so is the biggest annoyance possible out of how bulky they are. After a grueling battle, their material will drop, which can then be turned into a few weapons that will only deal slightly more damage than the strongest pickaxe. On top of the balancing being nonexistent, the fabled co-op is just as lackluster. After spending 6 hours playing with a friend, we only saw each other for the first half an hour and perhaps on two other occasions when we crossed paths while looking for silver. All this begs the question of why we should invest more time into this over other, more popular and complete sandboxes.”

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Rating: 8.0/10 (1 vote cast)
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Tinkertown - Preview, 8.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

No longer writing for the site, pursuing other things.

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