Toyshop Adventures is a freemium game that’s about the toys in a toy store coming to life. Despite how it sounds, it’s not a total rip off of Toy Story. The shop owner has literally lost his marbles, and it’s up to you, as a fragile, big-headed doll, to gather them back up. For reasons that are unclear, you’re the only toy trying to help, while the rest either impede your quest or ask you to do things for them. But, hey, that’s life.
So you’ll navigate side-scrolling levels made up of store shelves and toy boxes. To help you make some of the bigger jumps, you’ll find trucks, balls, and loose blocks scattered around as well. We really enjoyed the level designs, with their secret areas and creative use of things you’d actually find in a toy store; however, they do start to feel repetitive after you’ve played through a dozen levels or so.
Navigate treacherous terrain, like letter blocks.
The controls are simple. You can move left and right, as well as jump, grab, and use a power-up. Pressing the grab button lets you tether a short rope to a movable object. Usually you’ll use this to position a block or two to use as a stool to reach a high ledge. This works sufficiently most of the time, but the physics are pretty floaty, and stacking blocks on top of one another is far more frustrating than it should be.
Beyond the first couple of levels, you won’t find any power-ups in the environment. Instead, you must purchase them from the in-game store. Some power-ups can be bought using the marbles you’ll collect as you progress through the levels. Others, like the triple-jump and shield, cost crystals, the game’s currency. And the only way to accumulate this currency is to purchase it using real-life money.
Now, we understand charging money for extra level packs or for lasting in-game content. We can even accept charging to unlock cheats, like they do in Ghosts’n Goblins Gold Knights 2. But to charge money for one-time-use power-ups seems like serious money gouging. That said, buying this stuff is entirely optional, so it’s not imperative to playing the game.
Definitely should’ve hopped in the truck.
Also annoying is that instead of charging money directly for these things, you have to buy crystals in pre-set packs. So for $1.99 you get 25 crystals, but there’s no combination of things you can buy that equals 25 crystals. So you’ll end up with a few left over after you’ve made your purchase. What they’re hoping, of course, is that you spend more money on crystals. But if they’re going to charge for this stuff, we wish they wouldn’t use crystals to confuse the actual cost of things.
Now, it’s hard to complain too much about a game when they give you the first 10 levels for free. Depending on how obsessively you try to collect the marbles, it’ll take you about a half hour or 45 minutes to complete. That’s more than enough to let you know if you want to buy the second level pack, which also contains 10 levels, and costs about $1.99 (23 crystals, to be exact). But be aware that the second level pack also takes place in the toy store and is extremely similar to the first.
If you like side-scrolling platformers, you should certainly download Toyshop Adventures for free. If you love the first 10 levels, by all means, spend the two bucks on the next 10, as long as you’re looking for more of the same. Just know that the iPhone is home to other, better, platformers, like Soosiz and Bounce On 2: Drallo’s Demise.