Tin Can – PS5 Review 1

Tin Can might well be a glimpse into the future for us. Not the spacefaring aspect, but the fact we felt a general sense of outright bewilderment for most of our time playing it. Is what slowly losing your faculties feels like? If so, it’s damn well unsettling. Best described as a survival game set on board the titular escape pod, this from Tin Can Studio and publisher Klabater.

The tutorial introduces the basic mechanics on how to troubleshoot the pod’s many systems as they invariably break down and fail. You’re a space janitor asked to clean out the escape pod and inevitably it all goes a bit tits-up and you find yourself having to hurriedly vacate the larger spaceship when its reactor goes critical. Your primary reference for what to do next is the manual that details the error codes that show up on the monitors, though occasionally it’ll be pretty obvious what the fault is, especially if it’s on fire. The fire extinguisher is behind glass somewhat annoyingly, but you can only open the door if you’ve nothing in your hands otherwise. It’s a bit annoying when you’re primed for a micro-meteorite strike with the hole sealing tool, only for you to need the extinguisher instead.

There’s no story as such, more a series of challenges that introduce you to the mechanics of how best to survive. For example, the first scenario has you on board the pod, only there’s no batteries spare. As your systems fail, you’re gently prodded towards a solution, though we struggled a fair bit until we had a eureka moment and actually made progress. The challenges are well structured in terms of getting you to get far more familiar with the myriad systems.

There are seven distinct systems you’ll need to keep in tip-top condition if you want an attempt to last any longer than a few short minutes. Most critically, the oxygen generator and carbon dioxide scrubbers will take up most of your focus. If they’re not in balance, then the air pressure stabiliser won’t be able to do its job properly and you’ll slowly suffocate due to excess carbon dioxide.

The whole shebang is powered by an atomic pile, though we’ve yet to have it go critical on us yet. Mainly as we’ve not survived any longer than about fifteen minutes total. Given there’s a trophy for dying every possible way in the game, we’re either going to have to induce a meltdown or get good. We suspect the former option will be necessary.

The main game mode is ranked against other players, but we’re in no danger of troubling the top of that leaderboard. The first main obstacle is an asteroid field that your capsule passes through, the aforementioned micrometeorites being not so much a threat as almost guaranteed to punch a hole in the fuselage. We found ourselves holding the sealant tool in preparation more often than not.

That is unless the fault is somewhere else first. So you can be ready for a loss of pressure and end up missing another system failing, though usually you get an audible alarm. It’s hard not to feel slightly panicked when this happens. Tin Can is very much suited to shorter play sessions, it’s even playable on PS4, admittedly without quite the same graphical fidelity as on PS5. Though this is one game we wish had a unified trophy set where you could carry on where you left off across the two systems.

Rescue mode has you pitting your wits against six preset scenarios, the first of which we mentioned earlier. These have you trying to stay alive just long enough for your rescue beacon to be tracked and your pod picked up by a friendly craft. They’re well done and very much a precursor to challenge mode where you have to beat eight preset scenarios where you go in blind for the most part. Your only hint is the title of each mission. They’re tough, put it that way.

In conclusion, Tin Can is pretty good but best suited to short play sessions lest you find yourself feeling overwrought as we often did.

Tin Can
7 Overall
+ A great depiction of overlapping systems
+ Challenge is quite something
+ Bowie’s in space
- Can feel a bit overwhelming at times
- Could do with a unified trophy set
- Doesn’t lend itself particularly well to extended sessions
Tin Can is an escape pod survival sim that does a great job depicting how modular systems work well as a whole but also had us more bewildered than we ever recall being playing a game. It has the uncanny ability to make us stressed just thinking about it.


About Ian

Ian likes his games weird. He loves his Vita even if Sony don't anymore. He joined the PS4 party relatively late, but has been in since day one on PS5.

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