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Toby: The Secret Mine is Lukas Navratil’s take on some of the most popular and well known monotone coloured Indie puzzle-platformers of the last 7 years. After being released on Steam and several other consoles Toby finally found its way to the Playstation 4.
I think it is very hard talking about Toby without pointing out and making comparisons to the well-known platform games it takes it inspiration from, especially if the game’s official website states that they’ve gotten their inspiration from these games. Games like Limbo and Badland came before Toby and they’ve heavily influenced the design and gameplay of Toby and many games before it. It’s not a shame to “borrow” ideas of previous successful titles, but it sure makes it harder to impress the audience.
Toby was developed by Lukas Navratil, who is an indie game developer from Czech Republic. Before joining the team at Silicon Jelly, he developed the wonderful puzzle-platformer ‘Toby: The Secret Mine’. The game was released on Steam and Mobile in 2016 and on Xbox One and Wii U in early 2017 and now finally finds it way to the Playstation 4.
While the game’s story isn’t really clear from the get-go and fails to develop it into something bigger, it still has a story behind it. Where Limbo was cheered for its wonderful narrative Toby’s adventure is less impressive and fails to suck me into it’s world. One can wonder of a puzzle-platformer really needs a story, but I would always like to believe a story makes a game more enjoyable. According to the game’s official website Toby’s story is as follows:
A peaceful way of life in a small mountain village is shattered. Someone has kidnapped most of its residents. A few brave souls tried to rescue their friends but none have returned. Brave little Toby didn’t want to just sit and wait to see what happens next, so he has set about on his own to solve the mystery. Entering the deep forest, he sees this may be an adventure bigger than him, but he won’t stop.
In this day and age I can hardly think of anybody who isn’t familiar with the well known puzzle-platformer genre.In the genre the gameplay consists of both tough platforming sections and challenging puzzle elements. Some games do this better than others, but most of the time it’s all moderately enjoyable.
Toby offers decent platforming sections. Which mostly consists of jumping and moving boxes around for a bit. Later you will also need to avoid spikes and there even is a mine cart section which was a nice change of pace. Paying attention to your surroundings is key for survival and while you might die the first time you encounter one of the many traps the game has to offer, you will certainly spot and avoid them the next time you’ll encounter them.
The puzzle part is a bit mediocre and consist of moving boxes around, or looking for hidden paths, but there are a few context based riddles to solve. There aren’t too many of these puzzles in the game, but it’s a nice change of pace when you do encounter them.
Visuals and Audio:
I said it before. Toby borrows heavily from Games like; Limbo and Badlands. One of the things that makes that clear from the get-go is the games visual representation. Personally I like this style and the heavy black play area and characters combined with grey tones create a heavy contrast with the colourful backgrounds the game has to offer. The well-known mixture of black and white tones with splashes of coulor is definitely eye-catching. And Toby’s visual style is probably the feature I liked most about the game. Especially the winter levels look gorgeous and are notably the best the game has to offer.
The game’s audio and ambient music isn’t impressing nor is it lacking. There basically isn’t anything worth mentioning nor is it underwhelming.
Toby: The Secret Mine could have been the next Puzzle-Platformer hit, but fails to impress. It’s heavily inspired on some of the genre’s best indie games, but doesn’t bring anything new to the table nor does it copies the enjoyable sections of those games. Toby doesn’t really do anything wrong, but we have seen it all before and better. While the game is mildly enjoyable and short – finished it in 2,5 hours – it does look great.