Dad & Daughter Game Night

The family that slays together...

Dad & Daughter Game Night - D&D Meets D&D

My youngest daughter and I have been long time fans of the Gearbox Borderlands franchise. We've played through the all four games based on the 'Borderlands' universe and so were excited when an additional 'spin off' game was announced - Tiny Tina's Wonderland.

Now, I have to admit that the previous line of games were beginning to lose their shine a bit. No matter how many 'bazzilion' guns they added the loot and shoot formula was becoming a little tired and the universe created around the planet Pandora a little jaded.

Dad & Daughter Game Night - Dad's Character
Above: Hey, why is my character dressed like a transvestite Ork?

However, one of the most endearing and memorable characters was Tiny Tina, the psychotic protuberant princess and it was her special kind of juvenile mayhem. Gearbox chose to take the franchise off on a bit of adventure - literally - as Tiny Tin's Wonderland if their take on a Dungeons & Dragons role playing game...............Er, with 'guns' - er, sorry, I mean 'magical fantasy weapons' (guns)!

But They're Just Guns!

 LOL, I'm sorry but the theming of this game as a sword & sorcery roll paying shooter is a bit thin to say the least. It's Borderlands in cosplay and the weapons are only flimsily disguised to suit the theme.

But the big surprise is that it works!

It's so tongue in check and such an irreverent side swipe at the whole D&D genre - with plenty of 'nudge, nudge, wink, wink' easter eggs and pop culture references - that you can't help but enjoy the satirical pantomime that is the story line.

Underlying this humour is the good old loot and shoot fetch mission format of the previous Borderlands outings - minus the vehicles - interspersed by the signature big boss battles.

Dad & Daughter Game Night - Tiny Tina's Wonderland 21/06/23

The Last of Borderlands?

While Stacey and I have definitely been getting a kick out of this crazy twist in the Borderlands storyline and have been giggling along with all the in-joke references and Tina's unhinged wit, there is something of a whiff of finality about this outing. We both could not imagine how Gearbox could come up with anything that could wring any last drops of interest out of this franchise and felt that Tiny Tina's was the last hurrah.

Dad & Daughter Game Night - Tiny Tina's Wonderland
Above: Despite the aging graphics style Gearbox style manages to 'wow' you with some
beautiful level designs that make you stop and just take in their wonderous world.

For me, personally the games 'quests' have become more like chores and seem a little perfunctory now. There a few surprises and we are so used to the way Gearbox thinks now that we can spot a 'trap' or big boss showdown coming a mile off.

Yeah, I do still get a kick out of a particularly fancy or devastating gun, but  as has become apparent with the games weapon upgrade system you CAN have too much of a good thing. You end up upgrading and swapping weapons so often that you never really get that attached to any one of them. (I would much prefer a change from the endless procession of 'meh' models of guns to a weapons upgrade system that puts more emphasis on being able to upgrade and customise what gun you have via mods.)

Tiny Tina's Wonderland - Amazing Arrow Shotgun

But, anyway, it is what its is and despite the age of the iconic cell shaded graphics style and that it has become a bit of a parody of itself it is a beloved piece of computer game history which Stacey and I have had some great times playing.

We haven't completed Tiny Tina's Wonderland yet but we are already starting to think of what co-op shooter we should tackle next. It's perhaps an indication of our Borderlands fatigue that we are toying with the ideal of giving something with a more gritty 'realism' a go next - something like The Division or we might even try a spot of Red Dead 2 Online! (Maybe...) I'm also interested in a upcoming game called REDFALL (which seems like a twisted mix of Left 4 Dead and the TV series Stranger Things)!

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