Introducing Tiny Brains – A truly cooperative puzzle game for PS4

Tiny Brains 2

After my Spearhead Games co-founders and I wrapped up Assassin’s Creed III and Dead Space 3, respectively, we wanted to get out of the AAA world and back to the basics of why we love video games: playing together with friends, finding new ways to interact and challenging your brain. With these ideas in mind, we founded our own indie studio , and started making Tiny Brains, a co-op puzzle game – which we can now reveal is headed to PlayStation 4!

Tiny Brains is set in a lab where four super-powered animals have to work together to solve puzzles and escape from a mad scientist’s experiment. We choose this theme because, now that we are indie devs and have more flexibility, experimentation is what we’re all about in our creative process.

We have a “no design doc” policy at Spearhead. Being able to do this has been one of the best things about going indie, and the philosophy helps us make significant creative developments in a short amount of time. With no design docs, we can think about how to make the best experience at all times – rather than working to create a game based on a doc written months or years ago, usually by someone else!

Tiny Brains 1

When a designer has a cool idea for a puzzle or level, they just make it, and we all play it together. From there we decide whether the prototype should be incorporated, tweaked, or chucked. As we went back and forth playing early prototypes with each other, our game emerged almost by itself: four cute and quirky characters with unique powers of creation, teleportation, force, and protection, which can be combined in a number of different ways.

Because of this design flexibility, we’ve discovered that there are actually more than 16 different ways players can combine their powers to solve the first level alone!

Tiny Brains 4

We took this experimental philosophy with us on the road to PAX East where Tiny Brains made its first public debut. In our PAX Experiment, we studied attendees as they played, and asked them to fill out surveys about their experience. Since our design flexibility lets us make updates quickly and we’re committed to trying different things until we have the best game possible, we’ve already incorporated feedback and ideas from the surveys into our latest build, which will be at E3 this year. All PAX players rated Tiny Brains ‘fun’ or ‘extremely fun,’ so we feel like we’ve been on the right track!

From the beginning, we set out to make a game that turns strangers into friends, and our PAX experiment confirmed our hypothesis. In Tiny Brains, players can’t get by without talking to each other. They really need to collaborate as every character’s power is required to solve puzzles.

That said – we’ve enjoyed seeing how many ways our playtesters have successfully completed the challenges. Each group has had a different approach: since there’s no one “right” answer to a given challenge, the right way becomes how the playtesters agree to move forward, based on what they think as individuals and how they want to work with each other. At launch, Tiny Brains will have over a dozen challenge maps to complete, with more to explore and unlock.

Tiny Brains 3

As a new indie studio, we couldn’t be more excited to be a part of video games’ next-generation with our PS4 release and show the world the results of our grand experiment. Stay tuned for more information, and if you’re going to E3 we’d love you to check us out in the south hall, booth 2359 and see what we have in store this summer!

Do you like co-op games? Do you remember the very first game you ever played together with a friend? Mine was Ice Climbers – tell me yours in the comments!

0 Author replies
HellsSyerBlue 05 June, 2013 @ 14:06

wow a new puzzle game cool :)
Vortex looks great ^.^ The Last puzzle game i played was Catherine and i loved it,so more puzzle games are welcome.

I vaguely remember playing gauntlet on the Spectrum 128k+ with my Dad so I guess that’s it. I never really found anybody since who wants to play Co-op. However, I know that my time as a one man gaming warrior is coming to a close. I have an 8 week old son who is going to be my right hand man in a few years. I can’t wait to play this and many other games with him on the PS4. Hell, I will even crack out the PS3 after all he needs to play the older games too. :D

pinkplaybunny 05 June, 2013 @ 14:23

Ice Climbers was awesome! I also loved Spy vs. Spy. I hope the vortex avatar along with the other animals will be available to buy?

Looks good, like Portal 2 with laboratory mice :-)

A game doesn’t have to be a photorealistic shooter to be fun and it’s great that Sony are benefiting from the input of so many indie developers.

Looks great! Will definitely get this on Day 1. :)

Zombies Ate My Neighbours on the SNES, Mario Kart was top fun back then as well (technically more a vs I guess

for the Mega Drive Toe Jam & Earl and Wiz & Liz

a mate of mine spent loads of money to hook his pc up to the TV (back in the days when there was no internet but BBS) so we could play Mech Warrior together (I guess the money spent on cables etc was more cost effective than dragging the sofa in front of the pc monitor and using the plastic mouse pads that came with Mario paint on our laps so that we could play in comfort

We close the comments for posts after 30 days.

Edit history