Toy Bot Diaries 2 is the second game in the Toy Bot series from IUGO mobile entertainment. This platformer reminded me of games like Bionic Commando and Metroid, mainly because of the primary game mechanic - most of what you’ll be doing is grappling onto walls, ceilings, and bad guys. The game tells its story through comic book-style panels that contain no dialogue, and while this was a creative, artistic approach, I ended up with no more than a vague idea of what was going on. This, along with controls that were designed well but required some wrangling every now and then, put a damper on an otherwise enjoyable experience.
Unlock Toy Bot’s past by finding hidden tapes in each level. Some of these are out in the open, but most are hidden, so you have to think outside the box to get to them. Collecting five tapes will unlock a single comic book panel that tells you little - there was not much incentive to collect these other than curiosity about how to get up there.
Touch a spot to grab onto it, hold your finger on the screen to retract your rope. This ended up being a fun, simple way to get around the screen - when it worked. While hanging, you can tilt your screen to swing.
I think it’s great that an entertainment company finds the iPhone to be a suitable platform to develop an IP for. As this happens more and more, iPhone owners will hopefully be finding themselves with considerable bragging rights.
A lot of the levels were really creatively designed. One in particular involved a large rotating maze that you had to grapple your way through. Another had me flinging myself from wheel to wheel in a ship’s engine. I didn’t end up using my brain too hard to figure anything out, but I felt a bit of appreciation for the cleverness of many of the puzzles.
My mention of Little Big Planet in the teaser comes from the multiple level elements that I remember using to create levels in LBP back in early November. Spinning wheels that you grab onto and release to fling yourself through the air, electrified floor bits, and endlessly spawning bombs were just a few of the many elements the games shared. Since they released within weeks of each other, I don’t really suspect IUGO of plagiarism or anything. On the contrary, the comparison is a good thing - in fact it was one of the more positive aspects of my experience with Toy Bot 2.
There were times at which I felt that the controls worked fluidly. When things were going my way, I was enjoying myself a good deal. Grappling using the touch screen took some getting used to, but ended up working pretty well as a primary means of getting around. I also thought that being able to magnetically attach to most surfaces and then use your grapple to move large objects around was a great idea, and the developers used this mechanic often and to good effect.
A major problem I ran into was various bugs and framerate issues. There were points at which Toy Bot was downright choppy, which is a no-no as far as I’m concerned. I walked up invisible walls, grappled onto thin air, and there were a number of times that I tried to grapple a wall, feeling very confident I had hit it, and fell to my death. While I'm all for admitting to user error when it's truly user error, this happened enough to make me question it. Also, the game crashed twice. This was incredibly frustrating, and served to make it tough to finish Toy Bot 2.
As stated in the overview, I have very little idea what Toy Bot is supposed to be about. I don’t know what happened in the first game, I don’t know what I’m delivering to KingBot, what KingBot is king of, whether I’m a good guy or a bad guy, or any other plot points that I consider sort of crucial. I might have totally missed the point, but I’m usually pretty good at picking things up.
Toy Bot 2, for the most part, was a good time. Swinging about and solving the puzzles was simple but enjoyable. Though I personally didn't get much out of the story, it seems that it (and the game as a whole) may be geared more towards younger players, which is totally fine. Earlier confusion put aside, I think this is one of the better platformers for the iPhone I've seen. Recommended for the younger set, and fans of platformers.