Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands Review — Spells, Guns, And Badassery

When Gear­box first announced Tiny Tina’s Won­der­lands, I was excited–but extreme­ly skeptical–about the game. The main dri­ving force behind this skep­ti­cism was the rather lack­lus­ter expe­ri­ence I had with Bor­der­lands 3. My fear was Tiny Tina’s would con­tain ele­ments from the last main entry that I real­ly did not enjoy, thus pos­si­bly ruin­ing my time with one my favorite Bor­der­lands characters.

How­ev­er, and thank­ful­ly, I have been pleas­ant­ly sur­prised by this spin-off. To be hon­est, I pre­fer Tiny Tina’s uni­verse to that of the orig­i­nal Bor­der­lands one.

The sto­ry begins with three heroes Valen­tine, Frette, and the New­bie (you) approach­ing the almighty Drag­on Lord to defeat. The Drag­on Lord rais­es an army of dead with his pow­ers, only to be thwart­ed moments lat­er by the glo­ri­ous Queen Butt Stal­lion who holds the Sword of Souls. The Drag­on Lord is then impris­oned for cen­turies and the game of Bunkers and Badass­es comes to an end. 

Tiny Tina's Wonderlands Review - Spells, Guns, And Badassery

You’re swift­ly brought back to real­i­ty, where Tiny Tina sits at the head of a table as your Bunker Mas­ter. She is prepar­ing anoth­er game of Bunkers and Badass­es, with you play­ing the role as “The Fatemak­er.” Since I’m not one to spoil the sto­ry for peo­ple, you’ll have to play to see what happens.

Tina’s well-built fan­ta­sy-themed world is far more than I had orig­i­nal­ly imag­ined. While a decent por­tion of the ene­mies are just reskins of adver­saries found in the Bor­der­lands series (ex. Cyclops = Goliath), I chalk this up to a game of B&B as being a prod­uct of what Tina sees in her every­day life. Obvi­ous­ly her fan­ta­sy realm would con­tain crea­tures that have sim­i­lar attrib­ut­es to things she sees in real life. Art imi­tat­ing life and all. 

  • Tiny Tina's Wonderlands Review - Spells, Guns, And Badassery
  • Tiny Tina's Wonderlands Review - Spells, Guns, And Badassery
  • Tiny Tina's Wonderlands Review - Spells, Guns, And Badassery
  • Tiny Tina's Wonderlands Review - Spells, Guns, And Badassery
  • Tiny Tina's Wonderlands Review - Spells, Guns, And Badassery
  • Tiny Tina's Wonderlands Review - Spells, Guns, And Badassery
  • Tiny Tina's Wonderlands Review - Spells, Guns, And Badassery
  • Tiny Tina's Wonderlands Review - Spells, Guns, And Badassery

While I don’t have an issue with this, oth­ers might see this as lazy work–but from the per­spec­tive of Tina’s char­ac­ter, it makes sense.

The rest of the Won­der­lands is lit­er­al­ly that, won­der­lands. Cer­tain sec­tions of the game con­tain unique attrib­ut­es. For exam­ple, the first wood­en mon­ey box­es have clasps in the shape of a bust of Queen Butt Stal­lion. A “swampy” area revealed loot chests that looked liked fall­en down logs with tons of flo­res­cent green mush­rooms grow­ing off the top. It’s intri­cate lit­tle details like that which tru­ly allow me to enjoy an experience.

Vast open spaces are actu­al­ly filled with loot chests, mini boss­es, col­lec­tables, and Dice. The Dice are worth the time to explore for, as each one rolled gives a ran­dom num­ber that’s then added to the Look Luck score in Hero Stats sec­tion of the menu. I’ve rolled over 85 of them, and I believe my luck is now 1.70x bet­ter. I will dou­ble check. My miles of walk­ing in Bor­der­lands 3 and I saw a frac­tion of the loot and collectables. 

Tiny Tina's Wonderlands Review - Spells, Guns, And Badassery
Lucky Die

My only gripe is that hav­ing to walk every­where can be a real Deb­bie Downer.

There are sev­er­al big dif­fer­ences between Won­der­lands and Bor­der­lands, all of which make it spe­cial in its own way. But that does­n’t mean it’s all good. For starters, there is a char­ac­ter creator–and I must say, it has quite a bit of options for a game of its qual­i­ty. Plus, I’m always a suck­er for being able to intense­ly cus­tomize any­thing in a video game.

Along with this new char­ac­ter sys­tem, are the brand-new char­ac­ter class­es. Gone are the Vault Hunters–at least for now. There are six class­es to choose from, all with var­i­ous Skills; some fea­tur­ing Com­pan­ions as the main piece of that class­es’ build. Won­der­lands is more along the lines of a true RPG, as builds are impor­tant, and the gear that’s acquired does affect the char­ac­ter. There are also “Hero Points”, which you get when lev­el­ing up, that can be placed into attrib­ut­es like Strength, Dex­ter­i­ty, and Intel­li­gence. This means a more cus­tomiz­able build for the class. 

Tiny Tina's Wonderlands Review - Spells, Guns, And Badassery

Of course, each class has Skills that can be unlocked, and these are struc­tured sim­i­lar­ly to that of the Bor­der­lands series. So, that’s not too sur­pris­ing. What is shock­ing though, is at some point, your char­ac­ter gains the abil­i­ty to use a sec­ond class. Now, depend­ing on how these are set­up, a true pow­er­house can be born out of the New­bie; and there are no restric­tions on what class­es can match together.

When it comes to the com­bat, it’s a tad dif­fer­ent as well. Grenades do not exist, but spells do and they are the best fea­ture to ever grace the fran­chise. They come is so many forms, in all the dif­fer­ent ele­men­tal effects. Right now, I’m hurl­ing out huge balls of ice (even though it does not go with my char­ac­ter). but I’ve had drag­ons shoot out of my hand, and ones like darts, among oth­ers. Plus, true melee weapons were added to Won­der­lands, so there is an extra weapon slot for swords, maces, axes, and the like. 

There is also an obvi­ous glitch with “The Cave of Dave” stuck on my screen

Last­ly, is the Over­world. This is sup­posed to rep­re­sent to table top board of the Bunkers and Badass­es game that’s being played. When a char­ac­ter enters this area, it goes into third per­son, where you see your char­ac­ter as a paint­ed fig­urine for this game board.

Tiny Tina's Wonderlands Review - Spells, Guns, And Badassery

The board can pro­vide a short reprieve from the nev­er end­ing fight­ing that hap­pens dur­ing mis­sions. It’s also has plen­ty of encoun­ters avail­able for those who enjoy the con­stant com­bat and you can unlock new paths through­out the Over­world after help­ing cer­tain cit­i­zens. Watch out though, grassy patch­es scat­tered about are filled with ene­mies, and they’ll pop up to drag play­ers into an encounter. Walk­ing through these patch­es slows down the char­ac­ter, so the fastest route pos­si­ble is best. Final­ly, the Over­wold pro­vides “dun­geons” you can progress through. Three rounds of encoun­ters, if you die, you start over. 

One of my favorite parts of the game is the voice act­ing. Ashe­ly Burch return­ing to reprise her role as Tiny Tina–replacing her just was­n’t an option. Will Arnett, who voic­es the Drag­on Lord, fits this char­ac­ter per­fect­ly. He always seems to nail the right amount of sar­casm for each quip, and the script was exe­cut­ed well, mak­ing his inter­ac­tions with the heroes a delight. 

Tiny Tina's Wonderlands Review - Spells, Guns, And Badassery

Valen­tine is played by Andy Sam­berg, and his robot cohort Frette voiced by the love­ly Wan­da Sykes. These two char­ac­ter’s inter­ac­tions actu­al­ly made me laugh and chuck­le, as well as have some big ol’ smiles. It’s not that the voice act­ing in oth­er titles is ter­ri­ble, the skills are sim­ply not there. Hav­ing the act­ing and sto­ry inter­twine so beau­ti­ful­ly gives me hope Gear­box will bring changes to any future Bor­der­lands titles. Or Won­der­lands games.

If you’re a fan of the Bor­der­lands series (or a fan of Tiny Tina), buy this game. It’s great fun and if you’re look­ing for a game that’s not super serious–this is def­i­nite­ly it. Tiny Tina’s Won­der­lands con­sis­tent­ly gives a top-notch expe­ri­ence all the way through, which I haven’t felt since the Bor­der­lands pre-sequel was released. Of course, it does have its own qual­i­ty-of-life issues, but this does­n’t take away from the rest of what the game has to offer. 

Although Tiny Tina’s Won­der­lands does not exact­ly adhere to how the actu­al Dun­geons & Drag­ons is played out, it’s still an amaz­ing ARPG that deserves a tad more respect than it’s been getting. 

IvanaHumperlot
IvanaHumperlothttp://buttonsmashgamers.com
I am a Platinum lover and an ex- Cod-aholic. I've been playing games since I was 5 years old and I refuse to quit, despite my mother's attempts to get me to. God of War and its successors are my all time favorite games.

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