Luka Navratil – 1 Player – Out now on PC, PS4, WiiU, Xbox One (version tested), iOS & Android
Toby: The Secret Mine immediately draws comparison to likes of Limbo, with its dusky, silhouette art style all played out as a rather macabre looking platformer. For the most part it’s an interesting and somewhat melancholy journey, as Toby is subjected to trial after trial, as he tries to rescue his friends and put a stop to the wrong doings of a foe who always seems to be one step ahead. The gameplay is quite stately, as Toby saunters through each level. These contain various environmental hazards, be it from the flora and fauna, or set up by the mysterious adversary. Because of the games art style and visuals, it can be quite difficult to make out certain traps and other dangers. Dotted around the levels are Toby’s friends, caged by the menace that’s trying to prevent him from getting any further. Throughout the games varied, but short stages, there are many fiendish areas that require observation and repetition, and the further you get towards the end, the more frustrating they become. There are many times you’ll want to throw the controller through the screen, with seemingly cheap traps and sections that serve only to frustrate.
As annoying as things can get, it’s countered by some wonderful lighting, haunting music, and there are times that the puzzles are a pleasure to play through. The game play runs quite smoothly, save for a few frame rate stutters in the scrolling backgrounds here and there, and there was the odd occassion where the collision detection felt somewhat tempermental, however this had no real affect on the overall gameplay, it was responsible for a couple of needless deaths, but the only real issue in death, is that the loading screen sometimes takes too long to respawn the character. There are no real game over’s, as you are given as many tries as you need, and in case you are in to acheivements, there is a decent amount on offer to bump up your gamer score, simply by dying a lot. In fact, the game is quite generous giving out high scoring acheivements, with the most difficult being rewarded for finding all of Toby’s friends.
Because of the games length, it shouldn’t take long to rack up a perfect score, as it’ll only take a couple of hours to get to the end. This may vary on how taxing you find the puzzles, but there isn’t a great deal of depth on offer. It’s a nice enough game, and if you enjoy a challenging platformer, it might be a nice little filler bewteen bigger games, but it’s not for the easily frustrated, and once it’s completed, there’s little need to return to the game. It does at points feel a little more style over substance, and can be fun when it’s not trying to put you off from progressing any further.