Toy Bot Diaries 3 is what seems to be the final episode of the Toy Bot series, bringing some amount of sense and closure to the story. The gameplay is similar to the previous iterations, consisting mostly of using a grappling hook and magnetic boots to get around and manipulate your environment. While this episode seems more polished and solid, it was noticeably shorter.
- Touch n’ Grapple
Most of what you’ll be doing is grappling from wall to ceiling to floor to wall. This is accomplished by touching and holding on the screen where you want to attach. This control scheme gets easier the more time you spend with it.
- Anti and Zero Gravity Environments
Various stages of the game will challenge you by turning things upside down – or just flipping the gravity. The first level starts off in the void of space and forces you to avoid black holes, which I thought was pretty cool.
- Legitimately Challenging
Okay, so it was just the boss at the end. But I’m plenty happy when an iPhone game puts its foot down and demands some chops from the player. I was on the verge of a full on Phone Throw more than once.
- New and Improved
…Sorta. While the framerate issues and visual glitches from the last game are much rarer in episode 3, there are still a couple spots where the framerate slows down. Still, points for improvement.
The Good: Cohesion probably isn’t all that hard to attain in a short miniseries of games, but I still like that Toy Bot has it. The graphics, gameplay, and puzzles all felt fairly consistent throughout each episode. Number three introduced some interesting gameplay elements while staying true to the original mechanics, which I liked.
I’m not sure whether to give props to IUGO for this or to snarl at them with fanboy rancor, but they borrow liberally from the story of the first Star Wars in this game. Actually, forget borrowing liberally. You board the Death Star (albeit with a cute little face), attempt to save royalty, and a hotshot robot in a cool-looking vehicle makes a trench run and drops another robot into a hole that looks like it could be a drawing of a frame from the movie. The plus side to this was that I recognized what was going on and instantly understood the story. The downside was, it wasn’t all that original.
Swiped story aside, Toy Bot feels like a real game franchise. It is awesome to say that simply because it’s a real franchise for the iPhone. I said it in my review of episode two and I’ll say it again – developers creating IP exclusively for the iPhone is a big step towards platform legitimacy.
The Bad: A few problems made it from episode two to number three, including the framerate issue. Thankfully, these problems are greatly diminished and don’t get in the way as much. The biggest new problem was the length of the game. Toy Bot 3 was dangerously close to feeling like an afterthought, having only a few distinct sections compared to the fairly labyrinthine second episode.
The Toy Bot series is fun, and deserves respect for being a cohesive, original video game on a relatively new platform. If you’re unsure if the platforming gameplay will be your cup of tea, check out the free version – this won’t give away any of the story, it’s just a sample level or two that’ll help you get used to the mechanics. While each episode of the game is only 4 dollars, that adds up to a whopping 12 for the whole series. Whether or not that’s worth it can only be up to you. For me it is, though it’s by a thin margin.