Datedness isn’t necessarily an obstacle for me enjoying a game, so I thought Tiny Hands Adventure might deliver some decent 3D platforming entertainment to the nostalgist in me. That said, while this game has a handful of moments, it primarily calls attention to the genre’s sizable growth over the years. It’s time to “slide, roll or jump your way to victory” like you did 20 years ago, for better or worse.

You play as Borti, a T-Rex from the village of Dinoburg.  His tiny hands make it a struggle for him to play as a goalie during soccer. Yeah, the story is weak, and it doesn’t get any better as the game progresses. Thankfully, plot isn’t a driving force here, although I still would’ve liked to see the tale lend some cohesion to the game worlds.

The level design can range from solid (albeit well-known) at times, to unspectacular at others. I certainly appreciate the diversity on offer, but the placement of enemies and items often seems haphazard. You’re presented four levels at a time. This gives a nice, if very familiar degree of nonlinearity – one of Tiny Hands Adventure many clear nods to the Crash Bandicoot trilogy. You must find a jewel in each level to unlock the boss and ultimately make progress.

The bosses should be a highlight, but they’re the opposite. Of all the buggy parts of this game, bosses seem most prone to glitches. The first one froze up on me, forcing a reset. The third has such a long pause during its final wave that, once you regain control, a hit is almost inevitable, which makes for a real standstill situation. A single hit means failure and starting from scratch, and this design really does not work in a game whose difficulty stems from things other than player skill.

Hit detection is problematically suspect throughout Tiny Hand Adventure. You’ll miss a platform you appear to land on. Enemies will end your turn even when you seem to make no contact with them. You’ll touch a gem yet not pick it up. This is a fundamental, and it’s even more important in a game where original ideas fall short.

I mentioned Crash Bandicoot earlier, and that is an unmissable source of inspiration (along with other ‘90s hits like Rayman and Spyro). Besides the level progression, specific levels call these games to mind. Jungle Ruins is a chief example, bringing back clear memories of the Boulder Chase levels in Crash. That example also serves to illustrate how the controls are simply adequate at best in Tiny Hands Adventure. You’ll really need to adjust the way you play to this game’s own sense of timing lest you hit jump but find yourself falling into a pit, for instance.

Much like the level design, fluctuation extends to the presentation which runs the gamut from decent to inferior. Visually, the game never dazzles, but at times flashes some real potential. Comic Land, for example, a rare 2D level, has an almost hand-painted look, with some playful, layered imagery. Its accompanying music is also appropriately happy, and I mention this because it is a rarity. On the audio end, many, if not most, of the tracks simply do not fit. The booming soundtrack has an off-putting shrill quality that makes for a real disconnect. Repetition doesn’t help either.

Tiny Hands Adventure simply has too many execution issues to recommend, especially at its $16.99 regular price. While collectables, which unlock hard level variants, can extend your play time, the level of quality doesn’t instill the desire to revisit already completed areas. Hopefully, Blue Sunset Games has something more polished planned for their next Switch release.