Little robots, lost memories and an abandoned home set the stage for Tyler: Model 005. You play as an intelligent mini robot, named Tyler, who’s been resurrected from over a decade of power down by proxy of a lightning strike in a small crawl space under the ceiling.
Not surprising, Tyler is now suffering from amnesia. Once you are up and moving, you encounter Conrad, another robot who wants to help Tyler get his bearings so they can go on adventures like they used to before whatever happened….. happened.
Conrad guides you as you explore the house for this and that. He’s clearly the brains behind most operations or at least fancies himself that. These escapades lead to eventual time travel shenanigans in pursuit of knowledge of yourself, other robots, your creator and his family. As you search every nook and cranny of your dilapidated house, you can feel just how small our little friends are. Fighting ants, spiders, the occasional rat, and even a demonic and razor blade studded Roomba in the near future, battling for your life can get a little crazy for our pint-sized mechanical hero.
You are rewarded, however, with a nice level-up system where you choose your upgrades. There are also costume items and paints Tyler finds strewn about in random places that can lead to battle perks. Nothing completes a game without some collectables, right?
Coupled with the feelings of loss, sadness, hope and adventure and such wonderfully artistic graphics, Tyler: Model 005 creates a unique empathetic emotional bond I’ve found in few other games.
Tyler: Model 005 is, unfortunately, a short one. I would have loved to dive further into the game, as the story feels most definitely unfinished. This isn’t a game that needs the player to use their own imagination or critical thinking to understand what’s going on, either. It’s simply missing chunks of vital information, such as witnessing the memories you gain or sharing information that the robots clearly get but leave you scratching your head (“Wait, what are we changing? There is nothing to change, this is unchangeable”) and lacks a definitive ending.
GameplayThe gameplay is easy to navigate with (mostly) intuitive controls and prompts. You quickly learn that you must seek out all light sources while also combating the pests which come with homeownership.
Once you’ve cleared a room, you have time to really appreciate the space you’re in and what’s been left behind, including costume pieces and paint jobs for Tyler. I took time especially to see the bits and pieces of the owner’s life left behind.
There were quirks that at first were hard to make habit of, but didn’t pose too much of an issue once you recognized them. Two of the biggest issues you’ll face is having to draw your weapon before you attack (two separate buttons, one of them not being made known until after you mash the keyboard a few times), and certain mechanics either being too sensitive, turning to tiptoe over narrow rafters into launching from the ceiling via monkey roll, or not recognizing at all, especially while climbing or transferring to other surfaces. There were instances, too, where the gameplay only recognized the tops of boxes as climbable, so poor Tyler would need to right a box to the upright position before moving on.
Tyler: Model 005 definitely has the potential for greatness. Skipping over a decade powered down, Tyler the miniature robot has lost his memories, family and home as he knew it. With an interactive and gorgeous world, lovable characters and an urgency guided by a panicked sense of loss, which drives the exploration of your overgrown abandoned home. Glaringly obvious gameplay mechanic issues and lack of a finished storyline are major hits to Tyler: Model 005 that prevent it from becoming the epic game it so wants to, and could, be.