Tinker Island reminds me of gamebooks – fun adventure books that allow readers to be involved in a story by making choices. Such books have multiple endings and making the wrong choices could lead to death. Many such books also had a unique dice-based or coin-based battle system. Kongregate and Tricky Tribe’s brilliant survival game brings back fond memories of interactive fiction. The pixel-art visuals add more depth to this text adventure game and make gameplay more interesting.
The game revolves around a bunch of survivors shipwrecked on a mysterious island. The survivors have to search for food, shelter and water and exploring the island is the only way to survive and escape the deserted island. While exploring they discover various secrets and will have to fight beasts to stay alive. You will have to manage survivors, take advantage of their skills and make the best choices to help them get out of the island.
The game has a unique card system that lets you swipe survivor cards to 4 main tasks, such as exploration, foraging, building, and resource production. While exploring, the game switches to text mode sometimes, updating you on various new buildings and items, new discoveries and secrets. The text mode also tests how better you are in making the right choices. The choices you make may have a positive or negative effect on different characters and may even affect their skills. This Tinker Island guide aims to help beginners manage survivors and make the most of their skills to complete tasks faster, win fights and escape the island.
1. Assigning Tasks to Survivors: Do’s and Don’ts
If you have too many survivors, you may choose not to assign all of them to complete a particular task. One drawback of assigning all survivors to a single task is that all of them will be fully engaged in one task at a time. And if that particular task requires more time to complete, say an hour or so, you won’t be able to complete other tasks and will have to wait until it gets completed.
You can assign half of the survivors to extract resources from flora and fauna and the other half to explore the island or build structures/items. Doing this, you will be able to keep all survivors busy. Team-work is essential to survival and Tinker Island encourages this, so make the most of each survivor and split all survivors into smaller teams to get the work done faster.
You can split survivors into teams for each task based on the survivor’s skill. You can split them into exploration, resource collection, building/item manufacture teams. But before doing this check each survivor’s stats. The stats section can be seen on a survivor card. Survivors with a high exploration skill (magnifying glass icon) should be assigned to explore the island. Those with high foraging skills (hand icon) can be sent to extract resources from plants and animals and those with high building skills (hammer icon) can be assigned to construct buildings.
Work starts when you have assigned all survivors cards. If you have assigned 2 survivors to extract rope and 2 survivors to explore the island with one survivor remaining idle, then work won’t begin until you have assigned the last survivor card to a task.
While multi-tasking is the best way to make the most of each survivor’s skill and get more than one task done at the same time, there’s one drawback. If a foraging and building task is being divided between 4 survivors, then the completion bar of each task won’t fill up as fast as assigning all survivors to either. Having all survivors engaged in a single task does not have any effect on the timer, although the completion bar above the timer will be filled up faster as more helping hands are contributing to complete it.
2. How to Win Fights
The island is full of wild beasts and unknown enemies. You may stumble upon any of them while exploring a part of the island, and will have no option but to fight them. Of course you can flee the area, but beasts will wait for you and you can’t continue exploration until you have killed them. Here are some tips to win fights in Tinker Island:
Having a higher Fight skill is one big requirement to win a fight against anybody. You can equip a survivor with a weapon to increase his/her skill. You will have to build one, and each weapon has different resource requirement than the other.
On the battle screen, the numbers at the bottom of the screen are actually fight values of the enemy and your survivors. When battle starts, the AI spins the sword and if the sword points at the green dot, your team will attack the enemy and it will lose some HP. If the sword points at the red dot, then the enemy will attack and your team or an individual (in case you have deployed only one person to explore the island) will lose health points.
The total fight value of survivors is calculated by adding each survivor’s fight numbers. When the survivor team wins a round, their total fight value will be deducted from the opponent’s health. If the opponent wins the round, his total fight value will be deducted from each survivor health. So if the fight value of the enemy is 5 and four survivors are fighting him, then 5 points will be deducted from each survivor’s health.
Take more survivors to battle an enemy. A single beast will be overpowered by a group of survivors as their combined fight values might be higher than the beast’s value.
If the total fight value is much greater than value of the enemy, then there will be more green dots compared to red dots on the wheel, thereby increasing your chances to win the fight. However, many times I have seen there will be as many red dots as green dots is the enemy is pretty stronger and has better HP than the health of all survivors combined.
In case the survivors or a survivor team sent for exploration do not rack up a better value, you can always return by pressing the “Run Away” button and come back later to fight the beast once you have chosen the best characters for the job. You can select those that have higher Fight value. Don’t forget to take those survivors who are equipped with weapons as they will definitely prove to be better at fighting beasts than unarmed survivors.
You can equip a weapon to a survivor who has poor fighting skills. This will increase his skill value by some points. Or you can choose a person whose fight stats are good, but needs improvement.
Construct buildings like Rainwater tank, Water Cistern as such buildings increase all skills of all survivors by certain points. Building a Water Cistern will increase all skills, including Fighting skill by +5 points.
3. Buildings You Must Construct to Increase Survivor Skills
Increasing survivor skills will help you complete tasks faster. Assigned survivors with higher skills will fill the task completion bar faster. Note that this won’t have any effect on timer, but the task completion bar above the timer bar will be filled quicker. Constructing the following buildings will boost survivor stats:
Constructing “Water” buildings increases all skills of your survivors. Keep an eye on water buildings and try to build upgraded water buildings to get skills boost. The better the building, the more points each survivor will get.
Constructing “Build” buildings like the Workbench will increase each survivor’s Build skill.
If you want your survivors to quickly explore a location, then you should build the Area Map and further upgrades to increase the exploration skill (magnifying glass icon) of all survivors.
Finally, making weapons and equipping them to survivors will increase their Fight skills. You can replace old equipped weapons with new weapons.
Once you unlock the Tricky Totem, don’t forget to construct it. It raises the skill cap of each survivor to 20 and costs just 70 stone. As you explore the island, you will come across more buildings/items that will require more skill points to complete construction faster and highly skilled survivors can really fill the task completion bar faster, so increasing the skill cap of each character is a must.
4. Items Too Provide Skill Bonuses
Time after time, you will keep discovering new items that can boost survivor skill stats. The tribal mask, for example, can give a +15 point boost to all skills of survivors. But it requires lots of gems to purchase it. Hats usually require gems, but they can provide the much-needed stats boost to all survivors.
There are also certain items that don’t required gems, but you will need to produce enough resources to create them. I am not talking about weapons. I am talking about items like the telescope.
Making the telescope will require ropes, stones, gold and a special part – lens. Once the telescope is created, it will give +4 points to exploration skills of all survivors. When the telescope item appears, you will be able to explore previously explored locations on the map to find the lens and other parts.
5. Explore Already Explored Locations for Special Parts and Resources
As you keep exploring, you will stumble upon new items/building blueprints that require special parts to complete construction. Well, you can explore already previously explored locations to find them. When you tap on an old location, you will notice part icons beside the location card. This shows that chances of getting those parts are high in such an area. Sending more survivors will increase the chances of finding the part in that location.
You will be able to revisit previously explored locations once you discover the telescope and the herb pot. Exploring some older locations will take more time and it depends on the parts you will get. The rarer the part, the more time it will take to explore.
6. Assign a Survivor with High Forage skills to Labor Units to Produce More Resources
Searching the island for resources can be tiresome. Plants and animals will appear randomly and you may never know what you will discover while exploring. Having Labor units is a sure-shot way to getting essential resources like food, wood, stone etc. every hour.
Labor units produce resources every hour, but they require at least one survivor to start production. Choosing a survivor with high forage skill (hand icon) will definitely increase resource output every hour. Do remember that a survivor has to be assigned to a labor unit to continue production. You can remove him anytime, but then the unit will stop production.
Another way increase output is to tap the bottle at the bottom-right corner of the screen. It will allow you to watch an advert. After watching a 30-sec video, all labor units will get a 2x resource production boost for 4 hours.
7. How to Get Gems for Free
The Steam Engine speeds up progress of all tasks – up to 100 percent shorter timers, once it gets activated. So if exploration takes around 45 minutes, expect the total exploration time reduced considerably once you start the engine. However, you will need around 50 gems to start. In Tinker Island, gems are NOT easy to get. Gems are not only used to start the steam engine, but are also used to speed up time for each task, purchase hats that ensure permanent skill boost of all skills, for all survivors you have collected so far. These quick hints will let you earn gems without paying a dime:
You will get more gems if you complete achievements. You can get a list of achievements via the menu icon at the top right corner of the screen. The achievements list includes simple tasks such as collect 500 food/rope/wood, reach the plains, perform any task 100 times etc. Completing achievements can get you anywhere between 5-30 gems. Battle achievements (beat the snake, crab etc.) will fetch more gems, so keep an eye on them. “Adventurer” achievements usually contain tasks like reaching a certain location in the island and such tasks usually carry more rewards than others.
Tap the package at the bottom left corner of the screen. It lets you watch an advert. Once you finish watching an ad, you will get a gem or two. New adverts reload every 24 hours and the package window will show how many ads are available for you to watch.
Sometimes, fighting enemies will earn you free gems. Try to kill animals without any casualties to increase the chances of earning gems.
Sign in with Kongregate will get you 25 gems. To sign in, tap the menu icon at the top-right corner of the screen and scroll down.
8. Craft Medicines, Pills and Potions to Heal Your Survivors
Accidents, food poisoning, battles and sickness can decrease a survivor’s health (heart icon). If his/her health drops below zero, they will be injured and must rest for hours before you can assign them tasks once again. Make sure you heal them before their health reaches below zero, else they will be bedridden and no potion will help them heal. You can use medicines, pills and potions to heal your survivors. You will need food to craft them.
Once the healing item has been crafted, it will move to your right. Tap the right drawer and tap the healing item to selecting, next swipe the injured survivor to the healing item to heal him.
Of all healing items, Pill is the cheapest to craft as it requires only 10 Food. Try to use pill, if one of the character’s health drops below 50. All healing items have the same completion bar. Also, the time required to craft them is the same for all healing items.
Additional Tips and Hints
Want to unlock more buildings? Build and upgrade the Fire building. Also don’t forget to build “Storage” building like the Tent to increase storage space so that you can collect and store more resources. When a resource reaches max limit, the bar turns red, giving you a clear signal that maximum resources have been collected.
When the Herb pot is unlocked, build it to increase the Forage skill (hand icon) of all survivors. But building it requires special parts, like seeds. You will have to revisit previously explored areas to find seeds and other parts.
You can buy extra characters for gems, but some of them can be bought for resources or special parts. For example, Alfred the Monkey can be bought for 250 Food. The adorable chimp has a very high Foraging skill and is a steal. Sparky the bear can be bought for 700 coal and he too has a high foraging skill. Tinker Island’s unlockable characters can be accessed by tapping the tiny button the top-left corner of the screen.