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Tiny Brains on PS4 11/26: A Closer Look at DualShock 4

Malik Boukhira's Avatar + Posted by Malik Boukhira on Nov 08, 2013 // Co-founder of Spearhead Games

My friend Simon Darveau and I quit our jobs at AAA gaming studios in favor of a smaller, more experimental and creative independent game development. We wanted to create a new kind of game experience, and what better way to do so than to ride the wave of the new generation of consoles? So with the help of PlayStation’s push for indies, we found our experiment in cooperation, Tiny Brains, coming to life on the shockingly high-res screens of the brand-new PS4 on November 26th!

Tiny Brains on PS4

For some background, Tiny Brains is an upcoming action puzzle game that follows the adventures of four tiny (but super-powered!) lab animals that have been experimented on by a mad scientist. Each “tiny brain” has a unique physics-based ability and players must work together to combine their powers and escape the trick-ridden science experiment. We made this game to truly be about co-op — unlike some co-op games where the stronger players can complete the objectives while their less-experienced friends hang back and bumble about, in Tiny Brains, all the animals’ powers must work in tandem in order to progress. You and your fellow gamers can no longer just coexist, you must truly cooperate, and it’s easy for non-gamers to jump in and have fun.

Bringing Tiny Brains to the PS4, we of course took advantage of the awesome power of the console by having more physics-based objects, more destructibles, and more legions of evil baby chickens. Beyond amped up power of the whole system, PS4 has some totally cool features that we got to work with. One of my favorites was the new tech in the DualShock 4 controller.

Tiny Brains on PS4

Bright Lights

Utilizing the PS4 DualShock light bar in Tiny Brains, you can tell which character you and your fellow lab rats are playing based on the corresponding controller colors. This comes in handy because each tiny superhero has a different power and you’ll need your friends’ help to cross boiling vats of acid, attract hard-to-reach batteries, and stop the pesky red ball from falling into the depths of the lab — just to name a few obstacles. Once you use your power, the light bar will turn white and will gradually return to your color when your ability has recharged.

Tiny Brains: DaxTiny Brains: StewTiny Brains: MinscTiny Brains: Pad

For example, Dax, the miniature bat, is purple. For Dax, echolocation is so last season – he can project a supersonic wave that can effectively force push objects away from him.

Stew is the rabbit with the green rubber suit. He’s electrically charged (his enormous ears are stuffed with a pair of high-powered batteries), and his power is to telekinetically pull objects towards him.

There’s also Minsc, a chubby blue hamster. He can create an ice block out of thin air and blow them up with a second block, propelling any objects (or tiny friends) on top of the ice high into the air.

Finally there’s Pad, the red-eyed mouse, whose brain is so big that it must be exposed under a protective glass cap. Pad can teleport by swapping position between himself and an object.

The controllers help you figure out which of your friends is controlling which animal, so you know to shout at the guy holding the blue controller (the Minsc man) when you need a block of ice to boost you over a fence, or the girl with the glowing red controller (Pad’s puppeteer) to teleport to an important switch.

Touchy-Feely

In addition to the light bar, we’ve also made use of DualShock 4’s touchpad. The game features intuitive, easy-to-master controls but no matter how much gaming experience you have, you’ll need to communicate with your fellow tiny brains to solve each puzzle. To help facilitate this process, we’ve developed a feature where you can use the touchpad to bring down an arrow of your color into the screen. Players can use this to point to specific locations in a puzzle where they may require someone with a different power to chip in – an especially helpful feature when playing in our online multiplayer mode.

We’re thrilled with the way Tiny Brains has turned out – as a joyously chaotic, intensely social game that can turn strangers into friends and friends into a team. We can’t think of a better medium for its gameplay than PS4.

Be sure to check out Tiny Brains on PS4, and let us know in the comments your favorite feature of the DualShock 4!

//Add Your Own

36 Comments   6 Replies

1

+ Monterossa on November 8th, 2013 at 10:36 am said:

AWESOME!! let’s buy a $399 powerful console to play indie games!!


2

+ Jesszman on November 8th, 2013 at 10:37 am said:

Game looks amazing! How are the Remote Play controls coming along?


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    + Malik Boukhira on November 8th, 2013 at 12:07 pm said:

    Remote Play works with Tiny Brains :)

    Particularly useful for a couch coop session if you’re missing a Dualshock4.

    On the subject, Playstation Move can also be used as alternate controller for the game. Not the motion aspect, but the analogue stick and buttons work just fine!


3

+ liammill18 on November 8th, 2013 at 10:38 am said:

Looks great! I’ll definitely keep an eye on this!


4

+ nolo451 on November 8th, 2013 at 10:40 am said:

@ Monterossa,

You are complaining about having variety? I’ll never get people like you, why wouldn’t you want as many games as possible on the PS4?

Don’t like it? Don’t buy it.

I’ll pick this up, looks fun.


5

+ Chuppa_ on November 8th, 2013 at 10:41 am said:

FURMINS (VITA)?
Sly Cooper®: Thieves in Time – Cross-Buy Sale?
The Wolf Among Us Ep.02 ?
Doodle Evil (vita) ?
Ms. Germinator (vita) – Deals 30%/50% (plus)?


6

+ JamesTSkywalker on November 8th, 2013 at 10:41 am said:

Tiny Brains is SO much fun. Played it at two events, and it’s thoroughly charming and awesome. :)


7

+ Zezzler on November 8th, 2013 at 10:49 am said:

@1
God forgive you have Triple A games AND Indie games. It’s not like if there were less indie games there would be more triple A games, that’s not how it works.

We are still getting games such as Killzone, Knack, inFamous, and The Order despite your worthless complaining.

If you don’t want it, just don’t buy it, that’s it.

I for one am going to buy it.


8

+ AHMAZIN on November 8th, 2013 at 10:55 am said:

Thanks nolo451 and Zezzler. Shame the first comment had to an idiotic comment like his!


9

+ FranklynStreet on November 8th, 2013 at 11:20 am said:

Super excited for this game. Looking forward to the AAA stuff like AC4 and Killzone: Shadowfall, but there are a ton of indies that I’m equally excited for: this, The Witness, Contrast, Resogun, Basement Crawl, Doki-Doki Universe, Secret Ponchos, Child of Light, Hohokum, Hotline Miami 2, Outlast, and Transistor to name but a few.

It’s really too bad that some people have such narrow blinders on and can only appreciate the big AAA games that are all so similar to each other. There’s so much creativity and ingenuity going on in a lot of these little indies and they’re giving me such a fun, varied experience from game to game… and often times it’s the indies that give me a much more memorable experience.


10

+ RAMF-N-Skullz on November 8th, 2013 at 11:22 am said:

Awesome i love how they assigned the colors in the controllers to be dependent with the characters. That’s a neat move by spearhead. I am very excited for the upcoming generation of consoles


11

+ xeno3d on November 8th, 2013 at 11:32 am said:

More Indie games!! I wan’t the PS4 to be the best place to play indies!


12

+ chubigans on November 8th, 2013 at 11:38 am said:

Got my controllers ready. Thanks for making a four player co op game like this. There should be more local co op four player games. :D


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    + Malik Boukhira on November 8th, 2013 at 12:20 pm said:

    Great that you’re Coop-ready! Agreed there should be more local coop games :). After all, we created Tiny Brains because we’re ourselves couch coop fans!


13

+ Captain8bit on November 8th, 2013 at 11:38 am said:

Looks interesting and challenging. :)


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    + Malik Boukhira on November 8th, 2013 at 2:09 pm said:

    Indeed :)

    Besides the Story mode, we also have several Challenge map, that are sure to keep you and your friends at the edge of your seats and yelling (In a good way!)! At least that’s how most people seem to react when we playtest the game :D


14

+ CrusaderForever on November 8th, 2013 at 11:39 am said:

@1 Narrow minded much, how embarrassing to have the first comment and look like a total idiot! Epic Fail! LOL!

Anyway, this game has my son and I written all over it! I love how it gets removed from the launch line up and all the naysayers freak out and it turns out it’s coming 11 days later!! Thanks for your hard work on this promising game! :)


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    + Malik Boukhira on November 8th, 2013 at 12:30 pm said:

    You’re welcome :). I’m sure you’ll have a blast playing this with your son. One of our biggest fans and top player at PAX Prime was actually 7 years old! We really focused a lot (and playtested a lot) in making sure the game was fun with groups of players of all skill levels.

    And yes, we were definitely aiming at launching the game on nov. 15th, but after working so hard on the game for the past year, we figured it was worth it to take a few extra days to iron out the experience as intended.


15

+ Kong_Angantyr on November 8th, 2013 at 11:47 am said:

“Minsc” huh? Unless that just happens to be a popular name in some corner of the world, I’d say that’s a Baldur’s Gate reference (although in BG, the hamster’s name is Boo, but his owner is named Minsc.)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minsc


16

+ Gamzinga on November 8th, 2013 at 11:54 am said:

Monterossa, did your mother teach you any manners?

I’m getting Pinky and the Brain vibes from this.


17

+ TwinDad on November 8th, 2013 at 12:09 pm said:

I knew this sounded familiar, it was at PAX Prime. I’ll hope to play it when I get a PS4.


18

+ Rezolution77 on November 8th, 2013 at 12:15 pm said:

Agrees with @Monterossa (well put)

And a touch control? I can not stand the one on the Vita, it has done nothing but make games have errors.

Touch screen, fine.

But the more I keep hearing about Playstations’ future, the less I think I will continue buying downloadable content.


19

+ Rezolution77 on November 8th, 2013 at 12:19 pm said:

You want to appeal to the hundred or so incoherent blog mumblers, go right ahead.

I can not say I do not like indie games, but at a reasonable price that makes my PS seem less worth owning due to computers having just as much content only free or less expensive.

Continue this and your PS4 will have just as low of sales as your Vita did.

Notice the price drop. And that is something Sony does not usually do.


20

+ rog0705 on November 8th, 2013 at 12:27 pm said:

Looks great. Can’t wait to try all the cool indy games coming to PS4.


21

+ MakoSoul on November 8th, 2013 at 12:39 pm said:

This is a perfect game to play with my wife! I plan on using the $10 PSN card that comes with the PS4 to get Tiny Brains.


22

+ Kchow23 on November 8th, 2013 at 12:42 pm said:

Neat use of the DS4′s special features! :P


23

+ TimMalouff on November 8th, 2013 at 12:54 pm said:

Does this use the camera add-on for the PS4 in anyway?
I ask because you mentioned it used the light bar.

How many Vita’s can connect with Remote Play?

Does it use the Second Screen feature?
Can IOS and Android devices also connect with the PlayStation companion app that is going to be released?

I see in the Touchy-Feely image that Player 2 (Stew is the rabbit – green) placed an arrow on the red box.

If playing at home with less than four (4) players is there an AI for the unused characters, or can we swap to them?


    Malik Boukhira's Avatar

     

    + Malik Boukhira on November 8th, 2013 at 2:24 pm said:

    Hi TimMalouff

    Many answers to your many questions :)

    We don’t use the playstation Camera

    I hear you can only connect one Vita at a time for Remote Play.

    The Second Screen feature definitely has potential, but we didn’t look into it much at this point. As a small team we needed to focus on the core first and get it right!

    The game is jump-in jump-out 1-4 player (offline and online – meaning you can seamlessly have people joining an ongoing game by grabbing an extra controller, or joining online). When you’re less than 4 players, you can swap into the unused characters.
    To insure that the game is optimally fun no matter the number of players, we implemented a cool and innovative feature that allow us to change the levels layout in real time according to the number of players currently in the game, so that is is always well suited (especially the puzzles) to how many people are playing.


24

+ Amnalehu on November 8th, 2013 at 1:23 pm said:

These are the type of games that make Playstation a special place to play games! I can’t wait to get into this game. I know me and my friends/family will sink countless hours into this! Can we expect to hear any strange animal sounds coming from the DS4?


25

+ Alnuk1 on November 8th, 2013 at 2:26 pm said:

So it begins, Indiestation 4 with indieVita !!

Greatness awaits!! indeed far away from Sony !!


26

+ zeothedeathgod on November 8th, 2013 at 2:32 pm said:

What’s the price? looks really good, will pick it up when possible, but price determines if its day one or like a week later.


27

+ TimMalouff on November 8th, 2013 at 2:50 pm said:

Thank you for all of your answers Malik Boukhira :)

Good to hear that you are not required to have all four players and that the game can change the levels layout in real time according to the number of players currently in the game.

Last two questions

Like @Amnalehu asked will it use the PS4′s speaker in the remote?

Any plans on porting to the Vita for Cross-Buy, Cross-Play?


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    + Malik Boukhira on November 8th, 2013 at 4:34 pm said:

    Unfortunately no DS4 speaker features, great idea though :)

    We don’t have plans for Vita as of now.


28

+ tusunami on November 8th, 2013 at 3:00 pm said:

Well I like the strategy with he PS Vita which will help the systems sales increase. This game as well looks to be interesting indeed.


29

+ idn86i on November 8th, 2013 at 5:32 pm said:

Can’t wait to play this! I’ve seen several videos for this game and I was hooked on the idea. =] Keep up the great work!


30

+ Aika_Algiz on November 8th, 2013 at 5:47 pm said:

OH MY GOD, OH MY DAYUM!! I need it =) Great work guys!


31

+ GnomeWizard on November 8th, 2013 at 6:42 pm said:

I got to play a little bit of this game at PAX with my brothers, its freaking awesome. Day one buy for me.


32

+ Elvick_ on November 8th, 2013 at 8:54 pm said:

@1: Yeah, more games is bad… Shoo.

@17: The PS Vita price drop happened over a year after the Vita came out… even longer for NA/EU than it was in Japan… PS3 dropped after a year too. OMG FACTS AND LOGIC. Take your bad arguments and shoo along with 1.

@24: Shoo along with the others.


33

+ colonel005 on November 8th, 2013 at 11:29 pm said:

I have an issue with the second picture. I thought that the colors of the DualShock 4 light bar were: Blue – 1 player, Red – 2 player, Green – 3 player, Pink – 4 player.

Why in the second picture the green has a number 2? Is it related to the player number, and if so, why is it not like it’s supposed to?


34

+ LiquidMetal14 on November 9th, 2013 at 4:55 am said:

This went right into my most anticipated post launch game. Will definitely be advising my friends to get it.


35

+ ProfessorGerbik on November 13th, 2013 at 8:23 am said:

I gotta love how people always have to troll with the first comment. Brilliant stuff guys.. /s


36

+ stalepie on December 7th, 2013 at 2:50 pm said:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_hXLMen7_k

I was thinking the color of the menu highlighting in PS4 could correspond to the DualShock 4′s lightbar color, so people would know who was controlling what when playing a local co-op game. The people at Rev3 seemed confused or maybe they were just being knuckleheads on purpose to be entertaining. But the PS4 menu highlights each option in a blue glowing rectangle regardless of who is controlling it.


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