Review | Tiny Tina's Wonderlands

Originally published at: https://xboxera.com/2022/03/28/review-tiny-tinas-wonderlands/

Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands is a spin-off of the lukewarmly received Borderlands 3. Tina makes great strides in the “villain that isn’t incredibly annoying” department which plagued the previous title for me, and if you either enjoy or aren’t too put off by her humor there is great fun to have here. That fun mainly comes of course through the up to 4 player co-op in this Dungeons & Dragons (“DnD”) inspired looter shooter. It is $10 more than its mainline predecessor on the new generation of consoles. Let’s take a journey through the mind of Tiny Tina and see if it’s worth your hard-earned cash.

For the Queen!

You are the newbie and playing your first game of Bunkers & Badasses (aka DnD) hosted by Tiny Tina, who is very lonely. A ship has recently crashed near her thanks to the terrible piloting of Valentine (voiced by Andy Samberg), who is joined by his robot companion Frette (voiced by Wanda Sykes). After using an exhaustive and impressive character creation toolset you begin your quest against Will Arnett’s Dragon Lord. I’ll do my best to keep it spoiler-free, but things don’t go Tina’s way, despite her being in control of the game board.

Over 30 or so hours you’ll journey through the Wonderlands, a series of huge zones interconnected by a real-life DnD inspired overworld game board. Various dungeons, side quests, and random encounters abound as you work for Queen Butt Stallion and her people. I found the characters, writing, story, and especially the protagonist better than Borderlands 3. The Dragon Lord is a far less obtrusive and annoying foe than the twins were.

You’ll see DnD style takes on many of the Borderland’s series regulars. This could have felt over the top-fanservice-y, but it was handled well and fit thematically. That DnD inspiration is everywhere, from class setups to how your gear works. Instead of grenades you now get spell books that offer up a far greater variety and are damned fun to use. Randomization/procedural gear generation is here as well, and you’ll slowly unlock more item slots to further customize your classes. There is a great mechanic that opens up a few hours into your playthrough that helps mix things up rather nicely as well. I do recommend experimenting with the classes as they can play quite differently, and I found the Spellshot far more fun solo but the Brr-Zerker great in groups.

Enemy variety is classic Borderlands with a high fantasy twist to match the rest of the game. If you enjoyed Borderlands 3 and were looking for something only a little different overall, then you’ll have a great time. If that title did not hit for you though and/or you simply do not like Tiny Tina and the writing in the series, then know this is a $70 (US) off-shoot of the same thing. That price is a bit of a sticking point for me as this is obviously a smaller game in most ways in comparison to what Borderlands 3 tried to do. Costing $10 more for the Series X|S version feels like they did it simply because they can. For review purposes, they gave me the $90 version with a few extra weapons/skins and the season pass. It all feels like classic Borderlands so if you know you’re in then there probably isn’t much reason to not go for the everything included edition.

Shooty McFace

The gameplay looks and feels as good as ever. On the Series X, the default graphical mode is Resolution which targets 60fps, and how I recorded most of my footage for this review. Performance mode aims higher and felt fantastic with my variable refresh rate enabled monitor and how I have played the game when not recording footage. You will see a noticeable resolution drop when going to performance, but the smooth feeling aim made it worth it.

The biggest change gameplay-wise is losing grenades and gaining spellbooks. I loved the system and my time as a Spellshot where I could equip two spells at once was an absolute blast. There are a wide variety of spells on hand and customizing my preferred playstyle around them was a lot of fun. This is a title made to be played repeatedly as you push harder and harder content with randomly dropped items that you attempt to make a dream build out of. This is 100% a medieval’ish Borderlands and I enjoyed the hell out of it. There really isn’t much “new” here for fans of the series, but it’s well polished and plays great. You will want to focus on side content occasionally though, as I found my progression halted multiple times by high-level enemies that stomped me if I tried to only run main quests.

The music is quite different from past titles and fits the theme well. I particularly enjoyed the somber stringed overworld music as I moved from area to area, punches rocks, avoiding random enemies, and clearing out dungeon after dungeon. The voice acting is a mixed bag with Tina being her usual self, which can be quite divisive among players. Wanda Sykes and Andy Samberg’s characters talk a lot and they’re both well done. Will Arnett’s Dragon Lord isn’t great, but it’s far better than recent villains and I grew to like the character a lot as the game went along.

Co-op play worked well once the Shift servers were up and feature full crossplay between Xbox, Playstation, and PC. It should be the standard for games like this moving forward and I was really happy to see it. I ran into no major bugs while playing, though the long voice dialogue sections would frequently get cut off as I crossed an event trigger, which led to me missing out on conversations I was enjoying. Those conversations can go on for far too long though. Often you have to stand around and wait for a few minutes as discussions play out before you can advance, with no way of skipping ahead. It has been one of the series’ biggest weaknesses in the past and it’s in full effect here.

In Conclusion

Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands does not try to reinvent the Borderlands wheel. Instead, it molds it into something fresh enough to satisfy fans of the series that are looking for more. Just know that if you do not like the titular character then this is not the game for you, as there is a whole bonkload of Tina. If the $70 price tag on Series consoles doesn’t scare you off, and you have a few friends to play with then you will enjoy this expertly crafted Schlooter.

13 Likes

I thought she was awesome in Borderlands 2, but didn’t laugh as much about her jokes in Borderlands 3 though. Is it more like 2 here?

She’s better here than in 3, absolutely.

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Nice review. Im not into Borderlands but I at least wanted to give the vid a view for support. I didn’t know it has crossplay though, that’s really awesome!

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Anybody else playing?

I’m loving the game, but I’m a bit annoyed as I bought the next level edition, added the dlc codes, but nothing is showing up anywhere. I’m not level 23 or so, so more than likely the gear is junk anyway now, but still… Annoying.

I don’t appreciate their extra charge for current-gen consoles when they have to be scalable anyways for a PC release. I was too bitten from BL3 to give them even more money this time around.

I’m Holding off until the first sale where it’s 50% off or more, like the sales always happens with Borderlands style games.

Nice review!

Not a game for me, certainly not at $70 lol.

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Enjoyed the review also.

I’d have been interested at £40 but not at the price they’re asking.

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I’m shocked at everybody having issues with the price? I have the next level edition that includes both XSX/XSS and the Xbox One/X version, and I paid £49.99 for it launch day? It was £49.99 most retail stores like Smyths too…?

I think a lot of people are digital only where it’s $70 in the US

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Its $70 for current-gen digital edition, a full $10 more than typical games. I will never again buy physical media. I havent bought physical since X360 era.

I won’t ever support the premise that they can charge more for scalability work they have to do for PC versions anyways.

Woa, yeah, that’s pretty bad. What are they doing with that? That’s… ehhh. Sorry guys that sucks.

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Physical? Yeah no, that’s not a thing for me anymore and haven’t been for a long time. It’s up there with fax machines, landlines and CD’s lol :wink:

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Aside from the DnD-style overworld and spellbooks, I struggle to understand how this separates itself from BL3 to the point where it is a full-fledged title.

I’ve never been a fan of Borderland’s style of humor, its dialogue, or how it equates funny to screaming about farts and blowing heads off. I’ve heard TTW deviates a bit from that and is a bit more digestible, but I’m didn’t play Borderlands for the story anyway.

This just feels like such a weird release. It sort of reminds me of the Pre-Sequel from years back. Basically, it feel like an off-shoot of the mainline game, but is promoted and priced like a full-fledged release. Not to suggest it isn’t worth it considering the formula of BL encourages hours and hours of (fun) grinding so it’s not as if you’re not getting your money’s worth. But $70 is tough to swallow, especially knowing you’ll have to fork over more for the eventual DLC.

I think I’ll stick with BL3 for the time being.

Good review

The highlight being at the 1:38 mark, when there is a standout cameo by some dickhead

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Good review Jesse.

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I might have bought it at that price for physical to be fair and traded it in once I’d played through it.

I just looked at the digital price on the Xbox store and decided there and then not to bother. With the kind of game I’ve been anticipating for a while like Elden Ring I look around at prices. With this it would have been more of an impulse buy and the digital price just killed my interest.

Edit: Just checked it may have been the £65 deluxe edition that I saw on the Xbox store

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@Doncabesa I dont suppose the review code(s) included the ongoing DLC items they’ll be adding? The first DLC dropped already but looks to be rather bad going off what TrueAchievement experienced.

It did, been so busy with other reviews i haven’t gotten a chance to look at it.

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Like Jesse said, it has more to do with physical vs digital. If you’re digital only, probably better off waiting for a sale unless you’re a Borderlands fan. Physical depends on if you’re a collector or not. I spent $70 on the Next Level Edition, completed it in around 40 hours and traded it in to GameStop for $33 so it basically cost me $37. I bought it two weeks after release.

Great game though. Rated it an 8/10. Loved the Over World maps. Hope Gearbox stays with this setup for future Borderlands/Wonderlands games. Only thing I would like to see with the next game is that every area on the overworld map takes you to a main or side quest meaning you never revisit/replay any area at all. That would be awesome. For reference, im not a Borderlands fan. Only played B3 and dropped it after 15 hours because I hated the story and characters.

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