1000 Tiny Claws
| 1000 Tiny Claws

1000 Tiny Claws is an arena-based brawler that's somewhere between Power Stone and Smash Bros. but entirely in 2D, with considerably more sky-pirates and creepy crawlies to obliterate.

The follow up to WTF!?, this Minis release has no less humour than the excellent side-scrolling shooter that went before it, though it's a less compelling experience.

Playing as Rana, the matter-of-fact First Mate to good-natured scoundrel Captain Bluebell, you're dumped into 25 themed arenas full of insects, with nothing but a legendary sword for protection.

1000 Tiny Claws knows how ridiculous its premise is, and plays for laughs at every opportunity: cut-scenes with perfect comedy timing, defeatist dialogue before boss battles, unlocks in the form of pages in a mischief filled log book. The comic touches provide light relief between gruelling sessions of combat.

Under the magnifying glass

Fighting is confined to compact spaces with few barriers to the edges, plenty of objects to smash enemies into, and plenty of crates to knock around.

You have at your disposal just a handful of abilities with which to defend yourself: a dodge, a basic attack that can be rolled into a three-hit combo, a dashing strike, and a powerful special that's only accessible once enough insects have been thwarted.

There isn't really such a thing as death in 1000 Tiny Claws. When you attack enemies you knock them back, this distance increasing the more damage you inflict. The goal is to push them off the edge of the map.

Likewise, take one too many bites, bashes, burns, and any other number of bruisings and it's Game Over.

Where the game shows its shortcoming is in the absolute powerlessness you'll feel at times. Since there are so many enemies on the screen at one time, crowd control becomes the priority, ensuring that you're not surrounded to avoid being buffeted about like a tin can on a busy motorway.

Yet escaping tricky situations is near impossible - in some cases, all you can do is hope that one big bug will knock you away from the crowd and allow you to gather your senses.

Bugging out

Your attacks also have little to no use on the diagonal. When the insects can come from any angle and your range of attack is predominantly restricted to the vertical and horizontal, it's easy to feel hard done by.

This becomes a rather large issue in later levels due to the number of adversaries you'll come up against at once.

Another minor annoyance is that after pulling yourself up over an edge to avoid death you automatically do a ground pound, leaving you vulnerable for a fraction of a second afterwards.

When you're in a tight spot such as this, being open to attack is a significant disadvantage, but there's no way of avoiding it. The fighting is otherwise solid.

There are Challenge and Survival modes to take on, which add longevity to the experience past the three or four hours you may get from the Story mode, but not a great deal.

Animation is top notch and the now signature Mediatonic cartoon style is back with aplomb, complemented by a soundtrack that swings between jovial and epic.

It's a pity that the quality of swordplay at higher levels doesn't quite match up to the polished piratical trimmings of this snappily designed little number, leaving a considerable - but never quite deal-breaking - blemish on an otherwise charming downloadable fighter.

1000 Tiny Claws

Minor grievances with the finer points of combat aside, Mediatonic's latest is a handsome, challenging, laugh-out-loud funny arena-based brawler
Peter Willington
Peter Willington
Die hard Suda 51 fan and professed Cherry Coke addict, freelancer Peter Willington was initially set for a career in showbiz, training for half a decade to walk the boards. Realising that there's no money in acting, he decided instead to make his fortune in writing about video games. Peter never learns from his mistakes.