Tinkertown - Worms

I recently started playing Headup Games’ open-world pixel-art crafting adventure game Tinkertown, and I’m having a surprisingly good time with it. Not that I expected to hate the game from the outset — there was no predetermined malice or anything that I had going in; it just didn’t quite look my speed.

But after spending some time with Tinkertown, I find the animation to be quite charming, the sound effects to be rather endearing (aside from the repetitive background music), and the gameplay loop to pretty gosh-darn rewarding. And although throwback pixel-art visuals aren’t quite my cup of tea (our site owner Josh is more the target demographic for this art style), I think Tinkertown handles its aesthetic really well.

But for the life of me, I can’t figure out why the worms in this game are so friggin’ big.

I get it: When designing visual assets, you need to take into account realistic scale and balance that against what actually looks good on a screen. Imagine that I’m harvest berries from a berry bush, for example. Yes, they’re the size of apples, but if they were to scale they would be so small as to be functionally invisible.

Obviously, the same holds true for the worms you have to dig up for bait. But why are they this friggin’ big? If berries are better represented as assets the size of apples, worms could certainly have followed this same design logic. But instead, these worms are literally the size of my character, who may or may not be a full-grown adult human (it’s hard to say).

Tinkertown - Worms

These “worms” — heavy emphasis on the scare quotes — more closely resemble boa constrictors than earthworms. And if the reasoning behind the inflation in this economy of worms is that they become more easily recognizable, well, this kind of does the opposite. When worms look like snakes, they scan as snakes to me instead of worms. And boy howdy, does it take me out of the experience to imagine that my miniscule little twerp of a character can singlehandedly wrestle one of these friggin’ Dune-sized gargantuans into submission. It becomes even more ludicrous to imagine little ol’ stub-arms getting that monster onto a fish hook without risking life and comedically tiny limb.

I’m not buying it, Tinkertown. I refuse to accept this.

All that said, given how bizarre Tinkertown can be at times in general (I mean, you use string and batwings to craft leather), I guess it’s best to just roll with the punches, accept this out-of-whack scaling choice, and move on. It’s just… they’re so friggin’ big, man!

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