Tyler Model 005 is an action-platformer with features of upgrades, customizations, and endearing characters. Tyler, the adorable title character, is a tiny robot built in the 1950’s who wakes up more than a decade later in an abandoned house with no idea as to what happened to his creator. He is powered by light, much in the same way as that little calculator you probably have tucked away somewhere in your house, except Tyler’s charge lasts so little time that he may as well be a dying cell phone feebly attempting to reboot itself in an endless cycle.
The short span of time the player is given to explore while hopping from one source of light to another is actively annoying, especially with an uniquely unsatisfying and non-upgradeable jump that frequently fails to get you to where you need to go. Tyler has the ability to move things in his environment, but move him too fast and the item stays put where you last left it, forcing you to go back for it. Movement in the game is also atrocious, with the roll/dodge mapped to a double-tap of the movement keys: this is unchangeable, even on PC, where I would expect almost any game worth its salt to give me the option of key-mapping.
Unfortunately, that’s not the end of the bad things about the game; stylistic choices in the UI often make it hard to read what is already occasionally grammatically incorrect text, and charging spots are often nebulous or simply incorrect. And I have to return to that jump. It’s so short and stops so abruptly that it feels as if they intended to add an option to power up the ability with the upgrade page, and then either forgot or waved it off.
Combat in Tyler Model 005 is also boring, limited to little more than button-mashing, unless you’re an arachnophobe or just wigged out by bugs: there’s plenty to splat as they’re the majority of enemies. The addition of cherry bombs give a boost in combat but don’t respawn, adding almost nothing to the game, which is both strange and frustrating considering that spawns for enemies do respawn.
The things I did like about the game were the customization options, unlocked as collectibles that felt reminiscent of Sony’s LittleBigPlanet, and the generous autosave that saved Tyler (and I) from a game crash that incited a fear of having to start the game over again. Anything that kept me from having to play through this again can only be thought of a positive.
All in all, Tyler Model 005 is… exasperating. Going in, it looks like it has promise, with its cute character design and shiny graphics that promise a better and more polished experience. Ultimately, it disappoints, both in gameplay and overall mechanics. Perhaps it’s worth the meager $10 price tag, but I can’t imagine even the most forgiving gamer will be able to look past it’s more irritating aspects and flaws simply because it looks adorable.