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iPad  header logo

To-Fu 2

For: iPad   Also on: Android, iPhone

The soyquel

Product: To-Fu 2 | Developer: HotGen | Publisher: HotGen | Format: iPad | Genre: Puzzle | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
 
To-Fu 2 iPad, thumbnail 1
The beauty of smartphone development is that the time between initial concept and launch is shorter than for any other platform. Game makers can apply the finishing touches on a Monday night and release their work to the public just 48 hours later.

If a game is a success, most developers will choose to patch their work - adding extra levels and features, and making tweaks here and there - often while it's occupied by new projects.

Yet, HotGen has opted for a different approach.

The studio's follow-up to its hit action-puzzler To-Fu: The Trials of Chi arrives a little over three months after its predecessor hit the App Store. That’s some turnaround, even if the bulk of the work was already done.

Soft act to follow

But does it feel like a true sequel, or just a series of new levels bolstered by a few new features? In truth, it’s closer to the latter. But does that really matter? Well, that’s what we’re here to answer.

Initially, you’ll notice that the presentation seems smarter and slicker, even if the style of the menus is all but identical. You’ll also spot Game Center icons on the title screen, thus addressing one of the criticisms we had of the original.

The game then begins with a series of tutorial stages to show new players the ropes, and to introduce a few new mechanics. Your objectives are still the same: stretch and ping the titular cube of curd to reach the Fortune Kitty at the end of each level, collecting orbs of chi along the way.

On the rebound

For those who’ve been there, pinged that, it’s not just 15 more levels of what you already know. You’ll be introduced to rebound blocks, which To-Fu can bounce off once before they crumble and disappear.

Then you’ve got the super-ping mechanic, which sees you stretching To-Fu for a few seconds until he glows blue. Release him in this state and he’ll launch off at double speed, smashing through wooden slats he’d ordinarily stick to.

On top of that, you’ve got… well, actually, that’s your lot in terms of significant new ideas. In-app purchases offer greater customisation, as well as a gold To-Fu you can use once every eight hours to finish a tricky level for you.

It does seem as if HotGen has introduced a few unnecessary difficulty spikes to tempt weak-willed players into laying down the 69p fee for this gilded measure, not least because several levels force you into pings of faith.

Center of inattention

There’s still no way to zoom in or out, so instead you’ll need to rely on scrolling the screen to check the level layout – not that this helps much in these instances. And yet, after struggling to beat these stages, you’ll sometimes finish the next in a single shot.

These frustrations were equally prominent in the first game, and it’s disappointing HotGen hasn’t fixed them. By the same token, the lack of genuinely new content is a missed opportunity.

Theoretically, the Game Center functionality should extend the game’s longevity, but while some players will be happy to play through to the end, déjà vu will likely set in for most long before level 100 is unlocked.

HotGen could have halved the level count and released this as an update for the original. It would have been far better received, fostering genuine goodwill for a proper sequel. As it transpires, the '2' in the title generates expectations that the content here simply can’t meet.

 
To-Fu 2
Reviewer photo
Chris Schilling | 14 September 2011
To-Fu 2? It’s barely To-Fu 1.2. A major disappointment
 
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