Tiny Tina’s certified fantabulous adventure is on the cusp of release for the general public, with a brand new Bunkers & Badasses campaign for all Fatemakers to partake in come 25 March 2022. If you haven’t heard, Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands is a spin-off in the Borderlands series, following in the vein of the Borderlands 2 DLC, Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep. The latter was made available as a standalone ahead of this somewhat sequel’s launch for you to get that taste of the titular Tiny Tina’s DM prowess.
For a limited preview build impressions for additional context, see here.
OPTIONS AND PRESENTATION
The various sliders, options, and general look have not changed from the demo. I’m just keeping the header here for completionist sake. The specifications to run the game are given as such:
|Windows 10 (latest service pack)
|AMD FX-8350 (Intel i5-3570)
|AMD Ryzen™ 5 2600 (Intel i7-4770)
|AMD Radeon RX470 (NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 4GB)
|AMD Radeon™ RX 590 8GB (NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6GB)
Now, arguably one of the main points of a campaign is the story and its characters. I can’t talk too much about it, but the basic gist is that our Tiny Tina is our Matt Mercer flanked by Valentine and Frette. The latter two are appointed her “advisors”, leaving you and/or your friends to be the Fatemakers to play through her story wherein we face the Dragon Lord at the end of it all, to bring an end to his tyranny.
Perhaps surprisingly, despite all the trademark “silly” humour and fourth wall leaning, I’d describe the narrative as “mellow”, even “grounded”. I can’t put my finger on exactly what gives me this feeling. It’s like we’re here, fully knowing the jokes and puns are what most might consider really stupid, but girls just wanna have fun.
As someone who dabbles in creative writing myself, the “structure” feels “relatable”. The characters may not be incredibly over-the-top and off-the-walls insane, or have traits that are “cliché”, sure. That’s not any less of a reason to have a good time.
Apart from waxing philosophical about the actual narrative, additional worldbuilding can be found through the usual collectibles in actual lore pages and poetry.
Again, the core gameplay loop hasn’t drastically diverged from the original. I will get into some more detail about the things that weren’t in the demo, and expand on the general experience.
Oh boy, there are A Lot of customization items. At the start, there’s quite a lot of sliders you can fiddle around, with wording made more inclusive e.g. “this” or “that” body type over “male” or “female” and he/she/they pronouns. The voices have associated “personalities” to them, and you can adjust the pitch to something you like. Also, cat ears.
Boon / bane stats come with recommendations for the classes they’re best suited for, so you could just follow those and build your character accordingly. You’ll get to put stats into those or change them later anyway.
Aside from creation, the usual cosmetic item drops to add more details to your characters and a little later, a posable statue and banner, have a staggering amount of options you can find too. These drops seem to be almost always Epic rarity, or at least, the ones that I found were. A little bummed that they weren’t weapons, but it is what it is.
The Overworld is, well, an overworld. Outside of the world map, you can actually walk around the Overworld and shuffle yourself to various locations, unlock shortcuts, find side quests, shrines and mini dungeons. You can also get random encounters when you walk into the tall grass and see them pop up. Fortunately, you can simply punch them to disperse the encounter, and your fist can also be used to unlock the shortcuts I mentioned, and destroy certain obstacles.
It’s honestly quite the quaint idea that you’re able to traipse around as though you’re moving your miniature across the world. However, I personally found it to be slowing down the pace a lot from the frenetic action I’d normally expect from this series.
I’m guessing this could be a mildly contentious point, as I can see how the Overworld adds to the worldbuilding aspect. Look, see how Town A connects to Dungeon B instead of you just moving from zone to zone through an impersonal loading screen! Besides, I’ve also acknowledged it fits in the whole theme of things. Still wish it could move along a little faster though, with more prominent indicators on whether I’ve cleared a mini dungeon or not.
Speaking of the random combat encounters and mini dungeons, they are basically instanced areas with a few design variations in which you fight off waves of enemies across a couple of “maps”. As far as I can tell, these instances don’t have any hidden secrets – I will admit I may be just inobservant – and you can’t exit them partway if you’ve accidentally re-entered a mini dungeon. If there is indeed a way, then it was not obvious to me, alas. You’re also briefly held in place before both you and the enemies are let loose, which adds to my impression of the “speed” of the game slowing to a crawl.
Shortcuts should be pretty self explanatory, so I’ll describe the shrines a little more. You can find these on the Overworld, and they give passive buffs for their respective parameters. Typically you’d need to locate the shrine pieces that may be found in mini dungeons or navigating the Overworld before they become active. Basically get snooping around for the good stuff which you should do anyway.
Early game hell is still real due to the random nature of the loot drops. There’s only so much complaining I can do about that, really, as I struggle with the cash money to upgrade my carry load and wistfully looking at the Epics in the various vending machines. I would believe this can be mitigated some if I actually did the side quests, but I really wanted to unlock my gear slots, which are story-gated, as far as I can tell. Since I mostly ignored doing the side stuff, this means I also didn’t get to check out Myth Rank (level 40). Instead, I got lost trying to hunt down the Golden Dice.
I chose to play the Clawbringer for the Wyvern Companion and later double-classed for the Spore Warden for the Mushroom Companion for double the fun. The Clawbringer’s especially fun for me since I get to basically pretend to be Thor as I fling my electric-charged hammer to be a tesla coil or call it back like a boomerang and damaging whatever sorry fools that were in the way.
Also the Spore Warden’s shroom can try to resurrect me when I’ve been a dumbass and stood too close to some exploding thing and went down just as the boss died and there was nothing I could rally off. It’s much appreciated when I’m playing solo.
There was a point I was suggested to level up some more to hit the recommended minimum to do a story quest which surprised me a little. I don’t remember this from the previous games and I hesitate to consider Wonderlands a “grind fest” when god knows how many hours I’ve spent trying for specific Legendaries. It is a thing, so I figured I should mention it regardless.
For what it’s worth, I do genuinely enjoy playing Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands. Their formula works for a reason, as “samey” as you might complain about the very basic workings. There’s enough to make it not a carbon copy of its predecessors, and there’s always the danger of diverging too much and potentially alienating your existing fanbase without a guarantee to appeal to the newcomers. Besides, there’s definitely always going to be something to complain about, as I’ve duly demonstrated.
All in all, if you’d like a comfy time with another Borderlands adventure, I will lightly recommend getting this game.
|Familiarly fun looter shooter
|Overworld feels like it slows down the pace too much
|A comfy story with the same silly humour
|General struggles in getting useful loot / resources remain