Thanks to Gearbox Software and 2K Games for sending me a review build of Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands. While I’m in the NextMakers partner program this review isn’t a sponsored post. Here is my honest opinion on Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands after spending a week with the game ahead of its release.
Table of contents
Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands is a new franchise from the creators of Borderlands. While Gearbox Software definitely takes established mechanics from its previous titles. Why fix things if they aren’t broken but you can clearly see where they are mixing up the so-called “Borderlands Formula”. So when you have played Borderlands 3 you feel right at home, you are still playing a fun looter-shooter but at the same time, you are also introduced to a new adventure with new experiences.
The game starts out with Tiny Tina, Valentine, and Frette are playing a game of Bunkers and Badasses. While the story initially starts out as go defeat the Dragon Lord there is a lot more to it. Just like the game has these different layers, so does the story, there is a lot more at play than I initially thought. I enjoyed the main story and what Gearbox Software did with the characters, how they interacted with each other throughout the game, and what their motivations were. The ending initially felt a bit weird to me as it looked like I was presented with a choice and then I didn’t get to make it, however, the events do make sense.
There are also a lot of fun side quests where the developers just go off the rails or dive into D&D gone wrong scenarios. Seeing how some minor detail snowballs into something else was very entertaining. They also play with your expectations and question your beliefs to keep you on your toes. I would have loved to see more player choices during the main story campaign as we saw in the preview demo.
The Overworld is interesting because it introduces something new. You have this explore-the-world experience as it brings to new locations, offers some puzzles, but also acts as a gateway to these mini-dungeons. While Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands has these big areas with extensive story missions to play through, the mini-dungeons offer quick combat experiences. You can bump into enemies on the Overworld and get dropped into this random arena but there are also camps and temples that offer a set of arenas to fight through. Basically, you are fighting a wave of enemies in these areas as they are used for simple fetch quests or act as challenges for Shrine pieces. On one side, I could say that you are losing that custom-tailored experience, however, because there isn’t a lot of story in these quests, the arenas actually work really well.
The Overworld is divided into multiple zones, each zone has multiple locations to visit and things to do. But accessing a new zone comes with a level requirement. So if you only did the main story quest, you are likely under-leveled and be presented with a warning. While you still get access to the new location, you will see a skull next to the enemy’s health bar. I tried brute-forcing my way a story mission but it was a rough experience. I would suggest doing the Shrine temples on the Overworld so you can get those bonuses and level up at the same time if you quickly want to rush to the End Game.
The ability to create your own character is something new for Gearbox Software and I think they did do a good job. There are a lot of options to customize your character and when you play through the game, you are able to find more customization assets. However, if you just wanted to jump in the game and play, you can pick one of the presets and run with that.
Customization options are not locked behind a specific body type, pronoun, or you name it. Your character, your choices! Customization items drop like crazy but if you already own them, you can sell them and they do provide you with a good amount of gold. Trust me, you also want that gold!
My Character Build
I played the Spellshot in this review build and because I had a great time with the Stabbomancer during my previous early access and saw great synergies I multi-classed these two character classes. I went completely wild with the Magic Spells as the Spellshot lets you equip two of them. I initially kinda discarded the Skeep Action Skill as it sounded like another Borderlands Phaselock but seeing that it triggered my Magic Spell repeatedly, things became fun as multiple meteors started falling onto the Skeep and because the Magic Spell also had a singularity effect it kept pulling enemies in.
I changed up my secondary class once I finished the story. Because while running the Chaos Chambers I noticed a weakness in my build. While the Stabbomancer does let you stack elemental damages and do devastating blows with melee attacks, I was missing some survivability. While Melee is the new hot thing, I didn’t really use it as I was focussing on long-range attacks. The Graveborn helped with my survivability, while still being focused on Magic, and spawning multiple hydras is fun definitely if you have a Spell that adds even more of them. I had a good laugh seeing all my Hydra minions do my dirty work.
I managed to get to the Chaos Chambers and play a bunch of rounds. I wasn’t Max Level when I reached the End Game, so I got to level up and get quality loot from playing Chaos Chamber. The mode offers random encounters with random side objectives as it drops you into the mini-dungeons I mentioned earlier.
By completing an arena you are given a choice to increase the difficulty and there is a Risk/Reward mechanic to it. By making things more challenging you can earn more of those rainbow crystals. The more crystals you have the more loot you can claim at the end. It was satisfying that the main diamond chest always gave me a legendary for my efforts because the legendary gear is very rare in this game. Throughout my main story playthrough and doing multiple side missions, I only had 3 legendary drops.
I enjoyed the Chaos Chamber by playing it more casually, I didn’t go with the hard modifiers, I tried a few but for now, I didn’t want to deal with them. You can also pay Crystals at the portal to spawn Elite enemies in the next arena to make Chaos Chamber more challenging. However, if things get too difficult you can always search an altar and pay some crystals to get a buff. But remember to spend your Crystals carefully because you want a lot of them at the end of Chaos Chamber to feed those loot bunnies.
In the Chaos Chambers, you can grind your way to LVL 40 and unlock Myth Rank. There you can further increase your character. You can also play Chaos Trials and increase the difficulty of the game. You need to complete a run before you can forward to the next Chaos level. While playing in Chaos Mode, you can find Chaos Gear, these are better versions of the regular weapons but are a bit stronger.
I had a blast playing Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands, the story was entertaining, and the gameplay was fun while also being challenging. Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands may sound like a simple “Borderlands spin-off” and while it’s rated T for Tina, I found it more hardcore Borderlands than Borderlands 3. Gearbox Software brought back the hunt for loot while introducing new and enjoyable mechanics. The mixture of a GBX looter-shooter, with the Overworld, and mini-dungeons works really well together. I definitely recommend picking up Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands.