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Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands! An awesome high fantasy adventure told by everyone’s favourite Borderlands character (in as far as you can have a favourite Borderlands character) that you play as a looter-shooter set in an “unpredictable world full of whimsy, wonder, and high-powered weaponry”! I’ll tell you something, sonny: if you like Borderlands, you’re certainly going to get a kick out of Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands.
Check out the trailer for the game here!
Because it is Borderlands. Again. I’ve typed the word “Borderlands” too much and now I’ve had to type “Borderlands” into my search engine to double check it is still a word. It is.
Appreciably, there’ll be some readers who aren’t acquainted with Borderlands, so I’ll introduce you to the praline core of this first-person shooter series. Distill that feeling of beating all of your friends at air hockey at the arcade. Incontrovertible victory with the knowledge that it doesn’t matter much outside of those four walls. That’s Borderlands.
Set on a (usually) hostile planet, your character who falls into one of four classes pummels and pulverises their way through the world, rewarded with sweeeeeeet guns and improper jokes about their mother. As the loot is randomised, you’ll be selling and swapping out guns as you stumble upon rarer and heftier guns and levelling up your character with new combat abilities and Badass Points (it was 2009).
Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands — while injecting the high fantasy genre into its characters, weaponry and world — has a lot of the same stuff of the trilogy of Borderlands titles. Go here, shoot this, get a pithy one liner, come back, get some more guns. Though I did enjoy the crossbow that the two characters were given straight out of the gate. In the preview, there were two characters available: a Graveborn who uses Dark Magic to leach health from their enemies and a Stabbomancer who is stealth-centric and is able to summon a spinning axe onto the battlefield.
I preferred the Graveborn as I was fond of using life-steal grenades as Mordecai and Maya in Borderlands and Borderlands 2, and the levelling process is similar to its sci-fi predecessors. Completing certain challenges like eliminating enemies with melee attacks or collecting health potions offered bonuses to your character and once they levelled up, the player can dispense a Hero and Skill point to improve their build. Hero points pertain to the abilities that the character is able to use and Skill points are used in one of the D&D attributes Strength, Intelligence, Wisdom, Dexterity, Constitution, and Charisma, each increasing a gameplay advantage like critical hit chances or spell cooldown timers, for example.
The abilities and spells do add a welcome element of silliness to the experience of playing Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands. One of the spells I stumbled upon brings out a giant meteor out of nowhere through a portal to drop on enemies. Another one throws a cube of poisonous gunge that bounces around and creates patches of poison for enemies to walk into. And the character and enemy designs are brilliant, like the landsharks that emerged from the icy lake and the much stronger mimic that posed as a chest filled with loot for me. Exploration was stressed here too as there are sidequests to discover, collectibles to gather, and lucky D&D die hidden in nooks and crannies that raise your likelihood of finding rare loot.
I think the art team has done a very good job at mixing the fantasy and the sci-fi aspects of it. Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands has a colour scheme that should give you a headache but it doesn't. Somehow it's very satisfying to see, it's very pleasing. These colours and lights and sounds scratches that itch in your brain rather than triggering a migraine. Combine this with the somewhat repetitive structure of quests in the game and an unlimited sprint meter and you’ll feel like an absolute adult ticking off all of these tasks in succession. If the chore of vacuuming had the same furnishings as a Borderlands game, can you imagine what society would look like. Very shiny, probably.
The core of the experience of playing Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands is enjoyable and given that this is likely to be the part where you’re spending the most time, that’s good news for rookies and veteran fans of the series. There is the Overworld feature that I didn’t get to see in this section of the upcoming game, plus, players will be able to customise their character’s name and appearance within their chosen class. And you remember that arcade comparison? There’s another thing about that as the arcade is much more fun when you’re with friends. Borderlands is built for co-op as is Dungeons & Dragons so the adventures will become much more alive with someone else on the team.
Whether you grabbed Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep either a few years ago or a few weeks ago when it was available through PlayStation Plus, you’re going to groove with Wonderlands. As its release approaches in three weeks time, I'm guessing we'll get glimpses of what makes Wonderlands wonder-full, so I'd stay tuned if you're hankering for another colourful co-op jaunt this year.
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