Tiny Tina's Wonderlands Accessibility
Tiny Tina's Wonderlands is a fun experience that builds on the accessibility improvements in Borderlands 3, but a lot is broken, and the game is overwhelming for both reading and visual noise.
Score5.5 out of 10
- Large subtitles
- Remapping available
- Inventory sorting and marking
- Directionality for combat and objectives
- Buggy, paragraph-ridden subtitles
- No narration built-in
- Illegible HUD elements
- Lots of required reading
- Visual mess during intense combat
Chaotic fighting, rare loot, and a bunch of fantasy-themed enemies come into play in this spin-off title from the Borderlands universe. Like previous Borderlands games, there have been improvements across the board with each release, but I’ll be getting loot-deep in how Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands is for accessibility.
For this review, I’ve been playing on the PS5 console, and while the game has been littered with some performance issues, I’ve been able to experience the immersive experience that comes with the DualSense controller.
When you first boot Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands there’s not much for accessibility except the subtitles and closed captions toggle. You’ll get your usual display settings as well, but all of this appears after like five or more terms and conditions agreements to accept.
Once done, the main menu opens up and grants access to the same settings available through the in-game pause menu. You can find out exactly what’s available in our Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands Menu Deep Dive here.
Required Text Heavy, Narration Empty
One thing I want to get out there straight up is that the game is littered with text and numbers. Text and numerical figures are required reading to understand weapon skills, items buffs and debuffs, and of course reading lore, objectives, skills upgrades, and more. On top of all of that reading required, there is no built-in narration of any sort so users hoping to have text read out won’t find that in this game.
Additionally, while the game has good audio design with surround sound taking place, there’s usually so much carnage happening in battles that I cannot imagine it being a comfortable experience for those without sight due to the noise.
Subtitles of Good and Evil
Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands is a conflicting feeling of good, bad, and broken subtitles. Despite setting my subtitles to the largest and with backgrounds applied, the opening cutscene seemed to keep a default style regardless and also had no speaker labels.
Despite that though, the subtitles come into play how I set them when in-game. At their largest, the subtitles are nice and actually large, and they have speaker labels as well as making use of styles such as full capitals for shouted lines of dialogue and other manners of fun text to properly convey how dialogue is being spoken (E.g. “Er, h-hey there.”). There are also character avatars so you know who is talking visually in addition to the speaker label.
However, the background box at its highest opacity is not dark at all which is disappointing, meaning the majority of subtitles can blend into the background frequently. This is but a minor concern though, as the main issue lies in paragraph breaks.
Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands is sloppy and disheveled with its constant paragraphs of text for subtitles. Line breaks seem to not exist whatsoever for more wordy strings of dialogue and as such, you’ll have an off-putting paragraph shown for the duration of that dialogue.
To make matters worse, subtitles are not always available. Some cutscenes don’t seem to have them appear, and player callouts seem to be continually left out of the subtitling process unless directly a part of the story. Split-screen gameplay sees subtitles set per user for each screen which is nice, but the full-screen cutscenes cause layering conflicts.
As for the captions, these mostly stick to informing of any nearby barrels that have been triggered, but that seems to be the most that they do.
HUD and Map
Sadly, the majority of the HUD is incredibly small and, at times, illegible. The health bar and shield bars are nicely displayed and easy to understand, as is the XP bar. The yellow boxes indicating skills are ready are also nice and clear, where the HUD fails is everywhere else.
The ammo counter can be hard to make out as can the objectives section due to text blending into the background. The in-world waypoint icon can be hard to notice sometimes in areas where the contrast feels more neutral, and button prompts could have fared well with a larger option to stand out more.
Enemy health bars are understandable but are also on the thin side at times, and when you’re in combat there’s a good deal of directionality available, from light vignettes around the edges from incoming damage, to the more precise 3D-space arrows briefly pointing to an enemy. Players can also ping which is useful for co-op.
The minimap is a nuisance for me. While I enjoyed the Borderlands 3 map for its dark blue style for the contrast of items and enemy dots, I find that Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands is a step back for this feature. The new primary color bring yellow means that some things such as dropped legendary loot icons and enemy dots are a lot more difficult to see.
The blue/purple circles for radius-focused missions are okay, but getting to them requires making use of the outer ring of the minimap which will show various arrow markers. While these, by default, will show as a standard color, setting your own waypoint will change the color of one of the newly added rings —Purple— but they’re not at all clear.
More could have been done to make these clearer, such as making them stand out with brighter or different style arrows.
I will admit that the bright yellow style of the 3D map that contains laters has the current level of the map stand out clearer against the darker yellow sections for lower-level areas. The Borderlands games always had me struggling to determine whether I needed to be above or below because the differences were not noticeable.
Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands has a whole new playing area called the Overworld, an isometric view of a tabletop-style scenario. Here players can run around and do a number of missions, or enter dungeons to farm XP and gather Shrine pieces. What’s more, there are Pokemon-style encounters in the deep grasses where enemies will spawn and transition you back to a first-person shooter encounter.
These encounters are not mandatory, and I was able to skip them by running away or pushing in R3 to melee them away. The more irritating side of the Overworld is that there’s no minimap and I particularly struggled to locate the on-screen waypoint at times.
Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands is like all Borderlands games and the focus is on scavenging through what feels like a continuous stream of loot. Loot comes in various rarities such as common, rare, and legendary to name a few, and are dropped by killing enemies, looting chests, completing missions, completing side activities, and purchasing them.
The number of loot, coupled with the earlier mention of required reading can be a lot for players, especially when I’m having to compare item ranking, item stats, and item buffs and debuffs. When your backpack —which starts off giving you 36 slots— starts to have a lot of items it can be overwhelming.
My favorite feature is the tagging system, allowing you to mark items as junk or favorite, then you can go to a vending machine to sell all items marked as junk. The backpack also has a sorting system, letting you order your items by rarity, ranking, and more. Sadly, these great features do feel watered down when the inventory storage space grows and you gather more and more items.
The rarity types are presented by colors which helps with just ignoring anything unless it’s purple or orange — the higher-ranked items.
Then there’s the leveling up. I’m able to level up my skill tree(s) using skill points I earn from each level up. Hero points are also awarded to me that I can spend on character stats like health and such. These are all presented with informational boxes with colored text to highlight specific game terminology such as dark magic, or character skills.
Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands does allow for rebinding inputs and does seem to offer a fair bit of freedom in making adjustments which is nice for accessibility. When it comes to actual gameplay, while things such as aiming down the sights, sprinting, and crouching can be toggles or holds, some spells may require holding to be cast.
There are also moments where you can choose to loot some dropped items individually or hold a button to gather a small number of nearby loot in a go. And there’s also a stronger focus on melee combat in Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands, which means for accessibility you’ll either be holding the melee input to constantly attack, or clicking to attack when you want to melee.
The chaos does mean you’ll be shooting, aiming, sprinting, jumping, mantling, sliding, spell casting, activating your skill, switching weapons, reloading, and the like. For me, it never felt too much, and with some classes having companions as part of their class, the help is appreciated.
Additionally, the DualSense makes use of the haptics and triggers in a somewhat unobtrusive way. They also only exist for immersion purposes and do not serve as functional accessibility features, but when enabled they don’t feel particularly overdone.
However, some players might find the carnage a bit much, especially when the visuals become incredibly messy.
What I mean here is that spells will cause a lot of visual clutter, there are also explosions, one companion causes fart clouds, some enemies create an eruption of particles, barrels explode.
There’s a lot going on, and more often than not, there are on-screen effects that can become somewhat disorientating with seemingly no way to adjust them in the settings.
Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands has made improvements to accessibility since Borderlands 3, but only some, and even then they’re kind of buggy, such as the clunky subtitles. Sadly, a number of the new design features attempting to fit the game’s visual style falls flat and loses functionality, and with no adjustable features to customize these, means that some players will struggle.
Gameplay is fun, and co-op is even better, but those who are not up for being bashed about by chaotic battles or reading words and words of required text will probably find it to be too overwhelming.
A review copy of Tiny Tina's Wonderlands was provided by the developer / publisher.