Jan 26, 2011

Totally Tiny Arcade Review

Totally Tiny Arcade is based on the rather brilliant idea of combining WarioWare styled mini-games with a classic arcade aesthetic. Or is that the idea of revisiting Lazy Jones while liberally remaking some of the best known arcade cabinets ever? Well, we'll never really know I suppose, but what actually matters is the simple fact that Totally Tiny Arcade is, despite its flaws, a truly great offering for us ageing retro gamers.

Set in a visually pleasing and distinctly 80s arcade, the game has players rush through more than a dozen imaginatively remade classics chasing after a nefarious virus and trying to beat a pretty strict time-limit. Beating the game, leads you to a brilliant boss stage -played in front of a most obtrusive audience- that will in turn unlock a short and lovely finale and -happily- a new arcade venue to tackle. Do this another couple of times and the game is pretty much over and a few extra modes become available.

The main attractions of Totally Tiny Arcade are of course the arcade remakes themselves. Impressively, there are more than 20 of them available, each sporting excellent, chunky, retrotastic graphics and some equally impressive sounds, with each game spanning four levels. The games are inspired from an impressive variety of titles including Space Invaders, Spy Hunter, Pac-Man, Joust, Frogger and even the Atari 2600 version of E.T., though -unfortunately- not all of them are equally good. For every two or three excellent remakes there's a dull or even a completely unsuccessful one, but admittedly the brilliant and imaginative games far outnumber them mediocre offerings. After all, not all arcade games were that good, even back in the day.

You can grab Totally Tiny Arcade (or of course try the hefty demo) via its very own, very retro official site. Oh, and here is the trailer, that will hopefully clear things up:

Verdict: Retro and indie gamers will love it. The rest should first give it a try. Gnomes should indeed instantly buy the thing.

Related @ Gnome's Lair:


  1. I've been a fan of this project since the very beginning (about 5 years ago now?). I still have the two previous incarnations of this game somewhere (When it was called "Joystick Johnny").
    Joe makes great mini-games. I just love his "Barbarian Roller Rally". And others too. You can get his older games here: http://www.joelesko.com/cgi-bin/games.pl

  2. Excellent link indeed! Thanks Anatoly. Never knew it was such an arduous project, mind.

  3. ...and Robotron, Venture, Tapper, Atari 2600 Football, etc.. a lot of them in there! I had heard about this before but had never actually looked it up even though I'm a HUGE arcade nut - now I'll check it out. Thanks for the writeup.

  4. A pleasure my friend. I'm pretty sure you will enjoy it.

  5. That looks totally sweet....so very sweet!!!

  6. Absolutely. Shockingly, I still dip in for a short game. Great idea, good implementation.