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Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands also has illusory walls and none of us are safe

Gearbox joins FromSoftware in this time-honored, and melee-tested tradition

An illusory wall opens in Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands Image: Gearbox Software/2K Games via Polygon
Mike Mahardy leads game criticism and curation at Polygon as senior editor, reviews. He has been covering entertainment professionally for more than 10 years.

I’ve been playing Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands specifically to take breaks from Elden Ring. But here I am during lunch today, lootin’ guns and slayin’ bods in Gearbox’s new Borderlands spinoff, and what do I find? An illusory wall. I can’t escape them!

Elden Ring made headlines (surprise) two weeks ago when players discovered the now-infamous “super” illusory wall. As opposed to most of the one-hit fake barriers throughout Elden Ring, this monstrosity requires a whopping 50 strikes before it vanishes. It’s very likely a bug, but it’s a reminder of how many actual illusory walls are strewn throughout the sprawling Lands Between, and several previous games in FromSoftware’s catalog.

Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands, on the other hand, is not exactly a subtle game. In fact, it’s as in-your-face as they come. So imagine my surprise when I panned my camera across a wall and saw the “melee” prompt appear. “Please, no,” I said. “Please, god, no.” I swiped at the wall and it gradually evaporated in a very FromSoft kind of way, and I knew, then and there, that I would need to find each and every one of these perfidious palisades — because behind this wall in question was one of Wonderlands’ Lucky Dice. These collectibles not only release a burst of loot when they’re struck, but also permanently increase your chance of finding quality items. They’re worth searching for!

In the video above, you can watch my idiotic ass search a confined area at the bottom of a cathedral for 55 seconds before I discover Gearbox’s treachery. That ethereal tinkling noise that kicks in at the bottom of the stairs is the telltale sign of a nearby Lucky Die, so naturally, I scour the whole area.

Apparently, there are a handful of these insincere impediments in Wonderlands. And while they’re definitely not a reference to Elden Ring (that would be an impressive eleventh-hour addition on Gearbox’s part), they’re likely poking fun at one of FromSoftware’s time-honored traditions — one whose history spans the likes of DOOM, Wolfenstein 3D, and, most appropriately, Dungeons & Dragons. Vice’s recent deep dive explored the history of illusory walls, and how their name, if not their modern function, originated in the preeminent tabletop role-playing property.

Considering that Wonderlands’ central narrative and design conceit is that it’s unfolding within a tabletop campaign (as imagined by the eponymous megalomaniac herself), illusory walls make sense in this fantasy romp.

That doesn’t piss me off any less, though!