Toybox ($0.99) by Barrel of Donkeys is a unique toy-themed game that will test your multitasking skills as you shoot down robots with your left hand while matching different colored blocks with your right hand.
In this game, you’ll have an adorably drawn rocket, which continually fires at approaching enemies. As in most classic shooters, you need to maneuver around the screen to avoid being shot while shooting, which is done with your left thumb.
On the right side of the screen, there’s a match three game going on, where you’re tasked with matching three blocks of the same color in a 4×5 grid. This is done with your right thumb.
You need to do both tasks at once, because both enemy toys and blocks will come at a fast pace. If you don’t decide where to drop a block in time, it will fall automatically.
So what happens when you match up three blocks? It clears all of the ships from the screen, blasting them away, but blocks are not dropped quickly enough to play the game without shooting up ships as well.
You’re given three rocket ships, which equate to three lives. You lose one each time you’re hit with a bullet, and it can be challenging to avoid projectiles on such a small portion of the screen.
There are three different control schemes: direct, exaggerated, and touch anywhere. I prefered direct, which places your ship exactly where your finger is. I have small hands though, and those of you with bigger fingers might prefer exaggerated, which offsets the ship from your finger, or touch anywhere, which is self explanatory.
If you can manage to line up your blocks so that you can get two matches in a row, you will earn an extra life and some bonus points. This is a tough task, though, so it will take some planning.
Each time you play, the game lets you know your ranking against other players, and you can add your friends from Facebook or Game Center to see who has the better multitasking abilities. There are also ten different achievements to earn while you play.
Playing two different games at the same time sounds novel and exciting, but I found that combining two fairly boring and simplistic concepts – matching and shooting – resulted in a final game that was also yawn inducing.
Neither the matching nor the shooting were complex enough to hold my attention for any length of time, and I quickly lost interest in the game.
That said, Toybox is a unique little game with super cute graphics. It is fun to play for a few minutes at a time, so if you’re looking for something different, I’d give it a try.