Tiny Thor review for Nintendo Switch, PC

Platform: Nintendo Switch
Also on: PC
Publisher: Gameforge 4D
Developer: Asylum Square Interactive
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: E10+

While there’s obviously no shortage of retro-influenced platformers out there, it’s rare to find one of them that actually feels and plays like it could’ve come out thirty years ago. Any old game can have 8- or 16-bit graphics, but to actually play like a game that could’ve come out on the SNES or Sega Genesis? That takes real skill.

That’s what makes Tiny Thor so worthwhile. It’s one of the rare games that looks like it could’ve come out a few decades ago, and plays like it too.

This means, obviously, that it’s a little challenging. In fact, Tiny Thor starts off with a warning that it’s a hard game, so this should come as no surprise (though there are a few settings you can tweak to make it easier, if that’s your thing), but it’s still worth reiterating that it’s tough – especially because that has both its benefits and its drawbacks.

The good side is that the game mostly feels tough but fair. It’s rare you don’t know exactly what you need to do, since the levels are fairly linear, but there’s usually just enough of a challenge that you can’t just walk through each one. You’ll need to time your jumps well and make use of your double-jumps and your hammer throw if you want to make to to the end of a level without dying. Thankfully, Tiny Thor also has reasonably spaced-out checkpoints, so you don’t lose too much progress when you die.

The downside of Tiny Thor being a hard game is that it occasionally feels a little unfair. There are some moments where it just feels like the game wants to kill you just for the sake of being harder, like when you plummet to your death trying to grab a swinging vine (since the point where you grab it always feels a little inconsistent), or when you get swarmed by enemies faster than you can throw your trusty hammer (since it’s awfully easy to call your hammer back before it’s killed everything coming for you). These moments are rare, to be sure, but they’re still there. But if being slightly difficult in places is the worst criticism that can be leveled at Tiny Thor, that speaks pretty well of it.

And, of course, it’s worth mentioning how well this game captures the aesthetics of its influences. It looks like a particularly gorgeous Genesis game with graphics that look like they were drawn with plenty of care and attention. Throw it a perfect chiptunes soundtrack, and you can see why this game feels like a lost gem of another era.

But, thankfully, it’s a gem from this era. Tiny Thor is an excellent love letter to retro games not just because it looks and plays like a game from decades ago, but because it’s still highly playable in the here and now.

Gameforge 4D provided us with a Tiny Thor Nintendo Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: A-