1000 Tiny Claws is Mediatonic’s third minis release on PSN, playable on PSP and PS3. The game is a simple affair, easy to pick up and play, but at times a difficult thing to master. That’s one of the things that makes 1000 Tiny Claws so addictive and quite hard to stop playing.
1000 Tiny Claws has you take control of Rana, First Mate of the pirate crew which is headed by Captain Bluebells. Rana and the rest of the crew are blamed for releasing a swarm of insects upon the world and basically bringing about the end of civilisation. For this they are sentenced to death by hanging unless Rana and some of the crew can stop the bugs from causing mayhem and sending them back to where they belong.
In Story Mode there are a total of 5 worlds each with 5 stages that must be completed to advance. To complete a stage the player must knock all the bugs off of a floating island, with the last stage in each world having either a boss fight or a set number of enemies to defeat. To wipe out those dastardly bugs Rana is equipped with a sword which has a basic attack and a strong attack that must be charged up before use. Rana also has a dodge ability to escape any bugs that threaten to attack her.
The boss fights offer a nice variation from the standard formula of knocking bugs off of islands, each one having a different weakness to the last. They help break up the gameplay, otherwise you’d be wiping out wave after wave of bugs.
The story is told through animated cutscenes which do look great and can make you laugh a little at the silly jokes that the dialogue contains. The stages themselves are also visually nice, with each world having it’s own style and the insects are all different so you can easily tell which bug has which ability.
You can tell a lot of work has gone into the design and animation of 1000 Tiny Claws. The little extra touches such as snow or dust falling off an obstacle as an insect bounces off of it really add to that. The sound is just as good and the soundtrack, though simple, is quite catchy and memorable.
As well as Story Mode, 1000 Tiny Claws has Challenge and Survival modes. Challenge Mode is only unlocked once you complete the Story Mode and stages in Survival Mode are unlocked once you complete each world in Story Mode. Survival is exactly what it says it is. You choose 1 of 5 stages and then try to survive for as long as you can and set as a high a score as possible.
The real treasure though is Challenge Mode. There are 25 different challenges to complete such as the traditional Time Attack and Score Attack as well as the less traditional Striker and Hunter challenges. The Striker challenge is where you try to score as many goals as possible by knocking enemies off the map between the posts, while Hunter challenge sees you trying to steal fruit from the Swarm.[drop2]The thing that makes 1000 Tiny Claws so addictive are the highscores and the medals. In story mode your success is measured by medals, bronze, silver and gold. The medal awarded depends on how quickly you cleared the stage, how much damage you took and your final score.
Challenge Mode gives you the chance to earn medals with each challenge having certain goals to reach to get either the bronze, silver or gold. Survival Mode is all about the high scores and seeing how many of the Swarm you can destroy before losing,
However, there are a few things that can be frustrating, difficulty spikes being one. Most of the time levels get progressively harder, which is fine, but then you move from one stage to the next and it feels like the difficulty has been cranked up from normal all the way up to mega hard. This leads to a lot of enemies on the stage, with attacks coming at you pretty much non-stop until you’re killed far more quickly than you’d hoped.
Another issue that also cropped up occasionally was when my defence was intact, yet small insects could hit me and send me flying across the stage, forcing Rana off the map and the depressing screen showing my failure. It does lead to you questioning how that is even possible. However, these inconveniences aren’t enough to take away from what is essentially a great 2D action game.
- Addictive gameplay.
- Great variation of enemies.
- Replayability value in trying to get high scores and gold medals.
- Nice animation and good soundtrack.
- Difficulty Spikes.
- Occassional ‘unfair’ hits.
- If playing on PS3, can’t use analog for movement.
1000 Tiny Claws is a great little game despite the occassional bugs. It should probably be played in short bursts for maximum enjoyment and the challenge of getting every gold medal, as well as high scores, means the game will last for a good few hours.