Developed and published by Candescent Games, Tinertia is a 2.5D adventure platformer which sees Weldon, a small robot equipped with a rocket launcher and a jetpack, crash-land on an unknown planet and attemp to make the best of its situation, ultimately trying to find a way to escape. Weldon will have to go through different levels, each featuring ten interconnected stages and ending with a boss fight. As suggested by the name, the title is loosely based upon the principle of inertia, which, in layman terms, is the tendency of objects to maintain their current direction and speed while in motion, and to resist any change in their state.
Tinertia prides itself on being a platformer which doesn’t sport a classic jump button, instead having you resort to shooting Weldon’s rocket launcher in order to propel him through the levels, as you try to avoid pits of lava, lasers, moving platforms, and other dangers. By using the rockets, you can slide, fly, wall jump, and even activate special switches or fight some of the bosses. While this is advertised as a special feature and is considered, by the developer, a strong selling point for the game, the rocket launcher and the jetpack, which allows to briefly direct Weldon’s landings while in mid-air, quickly become all Tinertia has to offer and tend to grow old extremely fast, resulting in a title that is best played in short bursts. Mastering the jumps also requires overwhelmingly long periods of practice both when using a mouse and keyboard and when using a gamepad, which the game suggests as the preferred way to control the main character.
As with many indie games, especially those produced by studios that are new to the scene, the clunky mechanics leave way to a more pleasant set of aesthetic choices.
Candescent Games went for a cartoonish and futuristic-looking world, which serves this title quite well. The models and colors used to create the various stages work harmoniously and, while being a 2.5D game, the actual levels and the dynamic backgrounds remain easily distinguishable, avoiding the typical confusion some might feel while playing other titles in the same genre.
If the graphic compartment can be considered bulletproof, the same can’t be said for the sound effects and soundtrack Tinertia offers. While remaining enjoyable, the sound assets leave the suggestion of having been somehow rushed in order to meet a badly scheduled set of deadlines. This feeling is further reinforced by the fact that the sound played while transitioning between different sections of the main menu is the same played whenever Weldon meets his early and often tragic demise. And, while each level features a different track, there’s nothing other than a few minutes of music playing in a loop throughout the stages. Boss fights also feature their own unique soundtrack, but the mood of the music often won’t fit in with the rest of the level, having, for instance, electronic trance music transitioning into metal when the boss fight in the first level begins.
It is more than clear that as soon as the game is picked up, Tinertia was designed and developed with a specific goal in mind: producing a challenging future-based platformer, which could introduce an unusual set of mechanics, while hoping that these would be its way to popularity. While it’s undeniable that the game does what the label says, in an overly-saturated segment of the gaming industry such as the one Tinertia fights to dominate, where similar indie platformers are published by the thousands each month, this title simply lacks that specific set of features that would have allowed it to stand out in the crowd. The lack of differentiation and dynamism when it comes to the challenges and mechanics you have to cope with in order to complete the game, results in Tinertia struggling to barely remain afloat in the deep ocean that is the indie platformer genre. Had this game sported a larger variety of enemies, more ways for players to complete the levels, or an engaging storyline–which can instead be assimilated to the run-off-the-mill and overly-used “android landing on an unknown planet and having to overcome a set of challenges in order to get back home” already seen in deeper games from other genres such as Grow Home—perhaps Tinertia would have been a more successful title.
The game features a world-wide scoreboard where replays of other players completing the levels are shown and offers both a level rush and boss rush mode, where you can play levels in rapid sequence without the meters stopping, if only it managed to keep you playing enough to discover both of these.
As it stands, all of the aforementioned flaws and the few pleasant visual and sound assets this game sports don’t balance out, resulting in a dull and rather boring gaming experience that provides you with little to no reason to keep playing past the few unmissable rage-quits. Tinertia is a game that could appeal to a small crowd of completionists and to some lets players, but that will hardly be successful across other demographics.
A PC copy of Tinertia was provided by the developer. To learn more about our score, read our review policy.