Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands PC REVIEW – Full Of Wonder
Gearbox Software’s wildly popular Borderlands series has been a hit since it flipped the RPG/shooter genre on its head nearly 13 years ago. Although the combination of a Diablo-Esque loot experience and a first-person shooter has been tried before, the Borderlands franchise is still a benchmark for looter-shooters.
Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands is now a spinoff that takes place in a fictional tabletop gaming environment. While it is difficult to improve on the original basis, Wonderlands feels mature despite the more childish setting.
Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands is named after the character introduced in Borderlands 2 (2012). You play the role of the nameless protagonist, along with your partners Valentine (a handsome, roguish type who seems to only think for himself) and Frette (a smart, intelligent robot who has some common sense in all the circuitry. Tiny Tina, the psychotic and hyperactive teenager with an unhealthy obsession for all things explosive, is hosting a little party for you, Valentine, and Frette in the form of an adventure in the Borderlands-flavoured clone Dungeons & Dragon, known as Bunkers and Badasses.
While the main story is full of Borderlands’ pop culture references, both obvious and subtle, Gearbox leans more towards literature and fantasy franchises to better suit some situations while adding a few funniest bits here and there for flair. Even though most of it is purely for fun, there are still touching moments of drama. Gearbox’s writing is excellent, with a compelling story and sympathetic cast, even in absurd games like Borderlands.
Tiny Tina doesn’t actually play any character, but she acts as the game master, guiding the party through the adventure. She sometimes stumbles through ridiculous improvisations and corny fantasy tropes, much like most DnD dungeon masters who need someone to help them overcome their mistakes. Although the main story and game are filled with Borderlands’ irreverent humour, it has been slightly toned down to make it more accessible for teens.
This shouldn’t fool you: The humour is punchy, and the game rarely takes itself too seriously. There are many ways to make fun of the game, from justifying an errant Cheeto on a board as a meteor falling from space to internet influencers asking you for more followers.
Like any other classic RPG, Wonderlands is heavily focused on stats and equipment. The equipment ranges from the usual large array of guns to the new additions of dedicated melee weapons, two ring slots and armour sets. Although it may seem absurd to move stats around or add new slots in Borderlands’ style of class balance, everything seems to work well here. Although some class combinations and builds are quite ridiculous by the endgame and can likely be nerfed by a hotfix at any moment, this is part of Borderlands’ design philosophy.
The class department is another major area that Wonderlands has changed. You no longer have to pick one class with different abilities. Instead, you can combine multiple classes to create new hybrid classes by the endgame levels. Combining these classes can lead to some exciting synergies. It also blends well with Wonderland’s unique RPG background — it doesn’t feel forced.