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iPhone  header logo

Toybox

For: iPhone   Also on: iPad

Out of the pram and into the fire

Product: Toybox | Developer: Barrel of Donkeys | Format: iPhone | Genre: Action, Arcade | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0.1
 
Toybox iPhone, thumbnail 1
Ever since science empirically demonstrated that video games have run out of ideas, developers across the globe have been keenly slamming together whatever tropes they could lay their hands on in the hope of fashioning something new.

While not quite on the same hair-raising scale as Dr. Kawashimi's Hentai Exercise Aquarium - a game we've just made up for demonstration purposes but which nevertheless speaks volumes - Toybox is a pretty odd mix of gaming styles.

It's part unwavering bullet-hell shooter and part falling block puzzler, all wrapped up in a rather charming visual bow.

Its unique selling point (if you must) is that it expects you to tackle each diverse element simultaneously. It's all about focused coordination.

Two thumbs up

Your left thumb slides a dinky little space ship around the screen, weaving through enemy fire and automatically blasting back, while your right thumb sorts blocks into different columns with the intention of matching three or more.

Making things a little more complicated is the way in which each seemingly distinct element exerts its influence on the other. Shoot a glowing enemy, for instance, and a block of that colour appears to the right. Form a row of matching blocks and the left-hand screen is momentarily cleared of opponents.

There's a simplistic chain combo system at work, too, offering big points for keener sorting skills. That's about the only concession Toybox makes to traditional video game depth, though. Otherwise it's more concerned with instant gratification than underlying complexity.

He shoots, he scores

Ultimately, Toybox is a game about leaderboard domination, and it's the age-old thrill of one-upmanship that gives the slender package momentum. To this end, the game is subtly rejigged weekly, practically mandating a compulsive frenzy as challengers vie to perfect their approach before the competition starts over.

Unfortunately, while Toybox's design purity makes for a furiously enjoyable test of dexterity and focus, its slender machinations can't hide the fact that it's a virtual wisp of a game. Toybox is fast, frantic, but sadly forgettable as soon as the lid is closed.
 
Toybox
Reviewer photo
Matt Wales | 30 August 2012
An enjoyable, engaging blend of two very different genres, but its focus on immediacy over depth makes for a game that's just far too ephemeral
 
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