Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands Review – Wacky Tabletop RPG in Borderlands 3.5 in the Test

In the Test of the Loot Shooter Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands Guns and Magic mix to an Action Game of a Very Special Kind

Tiny Tina's Wonderlands Review
Wacky Tabletop RPG
in Borderlands 3.5
in the Test
Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands Review
Wacky Tabletop RPG
in Borderlands 3.5
in the Test

The Borderlands series by Gearbox is very well known and promises the finest Looter Shooter Gameplay. So how well do the pen & paper fantasy and tabletop role-playing approaches fit into the well-established Borderlands concept? Find out in this Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands review with PC gameplay in a video (German, subtitles).

The action-packed lootshooter Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands in detailed review – Is the mix of fantasy role-playing game and action RPG successful? Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands was released on March 25th, 2022, for PlayStation PS4 and PS5, for Xbox One and Xbox Series X & S, and also for PC in the Epic Games Store, a release date for Steam is planned but not yet known.

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This post is available here as text, but also as a YouTube Video (German Voice-Over, English Subtitles). So you can choose how you like to enjoy it most.

Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands Review Video

German Voice-Over, many subtitles

Tiny Tina's Wonderlands Test (Deutsch) - Crazy Tisch-RPG als Borderlands 3.5 im Review

Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands Review – Intro

Hi there, this is the Zap. In this Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands review, you’ll get a sneak peek at the new action shooter game with hilarious gags about tabletop role-playing, “Dungeons and Dragons” vibes, and lots and lots of loot. I’ll tell you how it is played, what’s in it, and at the end, you’ll get a rating from me. But most of all, I want to give you all the info, so you can decide for yourself if you might enjoy the game.

I received a free trial key, my thanks for that. But this should not affect my rating, as I always test all games with the thought in the back of my mind, how would I feel if I had paid full price.

Background – Borderlands Spin-Off

Tiny Tina's Wonderlands Review
Background - Borderlands Spinoff
Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands Review
Background – Borderlands Spinoff

For the three people back there who have never heard of Borderlands, this is one of the most successful looter shooter series ever. It’s all about lots of shooting with crazy guns, collecting equipment, upgrading, and optimizing characters. In the process, we experience an especially very sarcastic and ironic story in a sci-fi space world. At least in the normal Borderlands games, because in Wonderlands we now get a massive fantasy bludgeon in the face for a change.

The game is being developed by Gearbox and published by 2k Entertainment. So far, there are already roughly 45 different titles from Gearbox, which released its first game in 1999. The best known are probably the extremely successful 4 Borderlands parts, followed by a wide range of spin-offs to popular series like Half-Life, Tony Hawk’s, or James Bond. But there are also nasty flops in the portfolio, like Aliens: Colonial Marines or the MOBA shooter Battleborn. Gearbox has also made its mark as a publisher, for example with Hello Neighbor or Bulletstorm.

Oh yes, Tiny Tina’s Wonderland is out for PlayStation PS4 and PS5, Xbox One, and Series X as well as S and for the PC. The PC version is only available on the Epic Store for now, but a Steam release date is planned. The official announcement for it is “Coming Soon,” but presumably that does mean before late 2022 or early 2023.

Borderlands is particularly known for its cell-shading look. This is a particular style of graphics where the 3D objects in the game are given black edges like in a comic book. This creates the feeling of an interactive 3D comic. And of course, Wonderlands here also follows the main series in this particular design.

Gearbox is probably also trying a bit to give their games a special, unique look and to distinguish themselves from the many extra-realistic shooters. In any case, this has meanwhile created a special “Borderlands look” that almost everyone can assign to this series at first glance.

Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands Gameplay – Story and Tales

Tiny Tina's Wonderlands Test
Story and Tales
Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands Test
Story and Tales

Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands is now a so-called spin-off. So it’s an offshoot of the main series, following roughly the same basic scheme, but in this case with a pretty extreme approach on its own.

This already starts with the choice of the main character, because the star in Wonderlands is Tiny Tina. She tends to be one of the secondary protagonists in Borderlands, but in what is already a particularly humorous, offbeat, and explosive game, she has always been one of the most distinctive and quirky characters.

Tina is a young girl or young-at-heart woman who has a penchant for cute dolls and sweet plush bunnies. But she especially likes these when they have been filled with lots of explosives beforehand and you can blow up all sorts of things with them.

In Wonderlands, the basic story now is that Tiny Tina, along with her crew, has wrecked their spaceship on a mission. Now they are floating around immobile in space, waiting for rescue to come from the Space emergency team.

And because waiting can be just extremely boring, especially if you’re such an explosive person as Tiny Tina, they play a good old tabletop role-playing game. And we are one of the players in this tabletop RPG. The journey takes us through a totally crazy fantasy land, from unicorns and undead armies to evil plant worlds and pirates, we crisscross all the clichés that make for a good Dungeons’n’Dragons round.

Game Type – Loot Shooter

Tiny Tina's Wonderlands
Game Type - Loot Shooter
Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands
Game Type – Loot Shooter

Tiny Tina’s Wonderland is still a classic Loot Shooter, despite all the Dungeons’n’Dragons allusions, or as it’s called here “Bunkers and Badasses”. In general, this genre always has some role-playing approaches in it, and these are somewhat reinforced in Wonderlands, and especially emphasized by the tabletop role-playing setting.

This includes that there is a variety of character classes and plenty of experience points, for everything we do. So we can earn EXP and enjoy the full range of advancement systems. Thus, we have here, despite shooter mechanics, a soft RPG system with levels, skill trees, and lots of quests. But above all, the focus is on a lot of action, an easily digestible story, and humor-charged trash talk.

Despite the fantasy setting, it’s still all about guns, shooting and lots of little things that we take from our enemies, find in crates or get as quest rewards. So everything is still similar to what you’re used to in Borderlands, or even other loot shooters like Division, Destiny, and what they’re all called.

From this loot, we gradually build the best and most suitable equipment for our character. We do this, of course, to be able to defeat more and stronger enemies, which then give better loot and more experience. This is where we get into the classic loot spiral, and I know many love this, including me.

Starting from a huge selection of weapons to various shield generators and add-on items, we permanently find and collect everything our ex-enemies drop or pick up from crates and boxes. The best items are equipped directly, everything else is turned into money and sold off. And this money we use to buy more special equipment or to expand inventory and ammunition capacity.

Gameplay – Characters, Character Creation, Classes, and RPG

Tiny Tina's Wonderlands Gameplay
Characters, Classes, and RPG
Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands Gameplay
Characters, Classes, and RPG

Wonderlands offers six different character classes in the basic version. I emphasize the basic version so because it is common with all installments of the Borderlands series that more classes are added later as DLC. So more is likely to come here in the coming months and years.

All archetypes are based on classic role-playing characters, but of course, guns are still the main focus of gameplay. Each class brings special abilities and skills that you can then use besides just shooting around.

A special feature compared to Borderlands is that in Wonderlands you have a very complex character creation. Here we can customize our char with gender, face, beard, hair, scars, tattoos, and skin color exactly to our liking.

Which Character Classes are Available in the Character Creation in Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands?

  • Stabbomancer
  • Clawbringer
  • Spellshot
  • Graveborn
  • Spore Warden
  • Brr-Zerker

It starts with the “Stabbomancer” class. A sort of rogue variant that ambushes with critical hits and can cloak to do so. As a rogue-style character, there are some advantages to melee attacks.

Following is the “Clawbringer” character class, which fights with a summoned mini-Wyvern and lots of fire and lightning magic. Clawbringers can summon a magical hammer and have special advantages in melee combat as well.

Next, we have the “Spellshot”, a classic mage conversion to the Borderlands universe. Besides weapons, this guy’s standout abilities are being able to throw around more spells, cast them faster, and, in an emergency, turn enemies into a skaf (a sort of fat space sheep).

Let’s then move on to the “Graveborn”, the typical necromancer. Accompanied by a flying skull, which also constantly chats with us in addition, we throw dark magic around. In the process, these blood magic spells often cost life energy but can drain it from enemies as well.

The fifth character class in the set is “Spore Warden” a summoner class that specializes in nature magic and goes into battle with a summoned mushroom friend and a bow.

The last in line is the melee class “Brr-Zerker”. Whirling close combat attacks, jumps into the middle of the enemy horde with slowing frost damage, and a frenzied state make for some real freaking out and going berserk.

In addition, completely different from previous Borderlands games, there are now character stats. Here we can already distribute some points at character creation and then another point at each level increase. This new feature deepens the char development enormously and offers the possibility to adapt our hero character even more precisely to our own style of play.

There are six typical RPG values to choose from here, such as strength, dexterity, intelligence, wisdom, constitution, and attunement. And depending on whether we want more knocking, shooting, or spellcasting, we should set our priorities differently here.

Unlike in Borderlands, there are no direct subclasses anymore, which seems a bit limited at the beginning. But after a certain level, we get the option to combine two classes. This system leaves a lot of room for complex character development since you can create a Rogue-Necromancer or a Mage-Berserker. Any combination of the 6 base classes is possible.

Gameplay – World

Tiny Tina's Wonderlands
Gameplay - World
Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands
Gameplay – World

With world-building, design, and layout of game sections, Gearbox is taking a slightly different approach in Wonderlands than in previous Borderlands games. Until now, the major maps were individual planets that were sometimes further split into sub-maps. Then you could fly around between these planets with a spaceship, and you had a few tasks in the spaceship too.

Here Wonderlands brings a very original new variant into the game, the so-called overworld. This is intended to represent the game board on the table of the role-playing round. Here we walk around with a stylized version of our character and only see ourselves from an angle above, in other words, isometrically.

In addition to fun design elements, like potato chips as crashed meteorites and Coke caps as bridges, there are all sorts of side and main quests to be found here. There are small mini-dungeons, shrines to activate, random encounters and ambushes, special gathering tasks, and much more.

This is where the table-top role-playing game feel really comes into focus. It also offers a very pleasant variety to the pure game in first-person. It’s not the most innovative idea ever now, but together with the normal content it broadens the gameplay a bit and makes it more interesting and varied.

Gameplay – Multiplayer

Tiny Tina's Wonderlands Review (Deutsch) - abgedrehtes Tisch-RPG in Borderlands 3.5 im Test 06 - Gameplay Multiplayer
Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands
Gameplay Multiplayer

Wonderlands features crossplay for all platforms, just like Borderlands 3, so here it doesn’t matter if you play on PlayStation PS4/PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, or PC. When the game comes out via Steam in a few months, Steam players will also be able to play together with Epic Games and console players. This also worked well for the most part with Borderlands 3.

Here you can always play with 1 to 4 people. All content, quests, and unlocks are only applicable to the host of the session. So the other players can play with you, get experience and loot, but don’t get progress for their own campaign.

Wonderlands allows you to choose between cooperative and co-op competition, with the latter applying only to the loot. In cooperative mode, everyone gets their own loot from each crate, and when one player loots something, everyone else gets a comparable loot in their pocket but adjusted to their level. In “coopetition” you loot competitively, whoever finds something first gets it, and the others go empty-handed or just loot elsewhere first.


Tech, Graphics, Sound, Performance, Engine

Tiny Tina's Wonderlands
Tech, Graphics, Sound, Engine, Performance
Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands
Tech, Graphics, Sound, Engine, Performance

Tiny Tina’s Wonderland was developed in the Unreal Engine 4. This results in basically good stability and medium to good performance on most devices. There is an extensive options menu that allows you to customize the game to the existing hardware of your PC. On the consoles, there is probably mainly the choice between quality mode with 30FPS and performance mode with 60FPS.

On medium to high details, Wonderlands offers some spiffy visuals in large parts, some even amazingly detailed vistas. Of course, this is deliberately “reduced” by the intentional comic look using cell shading. But in reality, almost everything in the game is fully rendered with high-quality textures.

On my test machine with AMD 3900x CPU and Radeon RX 580 8GB graphics card, Wonderlands unfortunately only runs at 30 FPS in 1440p resolution at high details. For orientation: an RX580 can roughly be compared to an RTX 2060, sometimes slower, sometimes faster, but on average very similar.

To get at least 40-50 FPS, I had to set some options to Medium or, in the case of the shadows, Low. That still leaves Wonderlands using about 95% of the graphics memory. So if you want to play at 60 FPS on a mid-range GPU, you might have to lower some options there. For full details and 60 FPS, you should already have an up-to-date Nvidia RTX 3000 or Radeon RX6000 series GPU, and probably 8 GB of graphics memory or more if possible.

As for the CPU, my 3900x is only loaded on a few cores and at 40-60%, so here the requirements are not that high. With an average of 4 or 6 core CPUs, you should be fine here.

The soundtrack of Wonderlands is good. Sufficient sounds for the weapons and explosions, sometimes really a cute representation of NPCs, from voice output to sung passages. There is not much to complain about in terms of sound quality.

In terms of localization: The translations into the German language are good to very good. There is a huge amount of text, tooltips, and dialogues, and in all my playtime I only noticed one dialogue without a German dubbing, and language problems are almost non-existent. Of course, a lot of it is colloquial or done with slang that fits the role. A few NPCs are a bit overemphasized in German, but I think since a lot of things in Wonderlands are satirically overemphasized, that was the full intention in most cases.

Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands Screenshots – Ingame Pictures

Click or tap into the image for a larger view.
In the enlarged view, you can scroll right and left on the edges

Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands Test – Opinion and Conclusion

Tiny Tina's Wonderlands Test
Opinion and Conclusion
Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands Test
Opinion and Conclusion

Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands is the craziness that Borderlands already has anyway, taken to the extreme by the series’ most-crazy character, Tiny Tina. And it happens in a fantasy world with skeletons, wizards, dragons, and as befits Tina, lots of guns and explosives.

Comparing the game with the normal Borderlands, here we have more RPG stats to improve our character and a bit more equipment, but fundamentally the gameplay remains very similar. So Wonderlands is a true Borderlands, just with more unicorns and skeletons and fewer spaceships and robots.

I think without sci-fi firearms the game would have been somehow even more beautiful. But here Gearbox was probably afraid to put the Borderlands fan community in front of too big changes. But you can, with some clever skilling actually get very close to pure mages or melee warriors, who almost do not need the firearms at all.

The controls are still as clumsy as in previous Borderlands games. As an example, the weapon comparison is always very awkward, and the mouse controls are not as user-friendly as one would like.

For gamepad players, it probably offers quite a reasonable solution with limited control options. But with a mouse and keyboard, it’s clunky and feels tedious. A grid inventory would be so much more convenient than this list view. Games like Diablo or many other RPGs have demonstrated here many times that this can be done so much smoother.

Generally, the inventory area shown is still tiny and quite clunky to use. Why they don’t go for more columns and more items visible at the same time here, thus reducing the everlasting scrolling, remains a mystery to me.

On top of that, it’s sometimes a bit choppy when you use it with the mouse. So it can happen when you already have the mouse over item A, that the game still has the focus on item B next to it and so you might throw away the wrong item or mark it for sale. That’s pretty annoying.

The loot and shoot mechanics quickly hooked me again as a longtime Borderlands player. After only a short time, I really enjoyed leveling up my character, exploring the world, experiencing the sometimes silly, sometimes wacky stories, and filling up on better and better items. The new character system expands the game in some very meaningful places.

The role-playing game allusions are fun. Even if they seem partly very cliché and exaggerated, I could smile still very often and several times really laughed out loud. As a tabletop role-player, many of the satirical elements were immediately familiar to me.

I would estimate the playtime for the campaign alone to be between 20 and 50 hours, depending on how ambitious you are at hunting down secrets and collectibles or if you just straight blast through the main story. With NewGame+, an almost endless equip grind, six character classes, multiplayer, and many end-game game modes, Wonderlands offers quite a bit of long-term motivation.

At just under $60 or €, Wonderlands is clearly in the AAA full price range. But that’s where I personally see it fitting as well. The quality of the game, the varied story, the new gameplay systems, and the completely different setting are unique enough to justify that price, in my opinion.

Wonderlands has thus become a good Borderlands 3.5, but it is also at the same time definitely unique enough to be considered a full-fledged game. And somehow I hope there will be more of Tina and her wacky fantasy world in the future.

Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands – Rating

For the price of just under $/€60, you get a full-featured and technically well-implemented triple-A game here. Wonderlands comes with many new ideas, a fun and interesting story, many hours of fun in the campaign, and also a good replay value. For this well-rounded entertainment package, Wonderlands gets a base rating of 90% from me.

Yet, I would like to deduct 3% again here for the inventory system, which is unfortunately still somewhat clunky. Otherwise, there is not much to complain about from my point of view. This brings me to a final rating for Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands of 87%.

Tiny Tina's Wonderlands Review 
Rating with numbers 87 percent
Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands Review
Rating with numbers 87 percent

Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands

Zap von ZapZockt.de

Tiny Tina's Wonderlands Review (Deutsch) - abgedrehtes Tisch-RPG in Borderlands 3.5 im Test
In this test of the Loot Shooter Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands, guns and magic mix to create an action game of a special kind.

The Borderlands series from Gearbox is very well known and promises the finest loot shooter gameplay. How well does the pen & paper fantasy and tabletop role-playing game approach fit into the proven Borderlands concept? Find out in this Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands review with PC gameplay in the video (German, subtitles).

The action-packed shoot ’em up Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands in a detailed review – Is the mix of fantasy RPG and action RPG successful? Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands was released on March 25th, 2022, for PlayStation PS4 and PS5, for Xbox One and Xbox Series X & S, and also for PC in the Epic Games Store, a release date for Steam is planned but not yet known.
Graphics
Sound
World-Design and Setting
Scope
UX – controls
Complexity
Fun per Price Ratio

Rating

For the price of just under $/€60, you get a full-featured and technically well-implemented triple-A game here. Wonderlands comes with many new ideas, a fun and interesting story, many hours of fun in the campaign, and also a good replay value. For this well-rounded entertainment package, Wonderlands gets a base rating of 90% from me.

However, I would like to deduct 3% again here for the inventory system, which is unfortunately still somewhat clunky. Otherwise, however, there is not much to complain about from my point of view. This brings me to a final rating for Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands of 87%.

4.3

Outro

Do you like looting and shooting in a fantasy world? Or is over-the-top humor, fast-paced action, and comic book graphics not something you’re into? Feel free to write me your opinion in the comments of the YT video or in the ZapZockt community Discord.

More gaming news, game reviews, and guides can be found on the YouTube channel or here at https://zapzockt.de – a thumbs up click on the video, a subscription on my channel, and sharing it with friends certainly can’t hurt. Then I wish you a great day, ciao ciao, your Zap

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