The original Topple earned ngmoco a lot of props for its quality and affordability when it came out in October; in our opinion, it was one of the opening shots in the App Store’s price apocalypse. Topple 2 is set at the “new” budget price–$2.99–and we think the two-buck hike is justified. It does a good job of applying Topple’s familiar block-stacking fun to challenging new modes and missions.
Initially, Topple 2 looks and plays a lot like Topple. The blocks on offer are the same shapes and sizes; they smirk, stare, and grimace at you just like they used to (although some now come in tiger stripes); and the game’s physics feel identical. We will say that the new backgrounds look fantastic, though. They’re straight out of a Tex Avery cartoon.
However, the big improvement here has to do with the game’s mission structure, which has been totally reworked. Topple 2 is set on six different islands, and you’re introduced to new gameplay modes and objectives as you move along. The first one you encounter is a rescue mission, where you build up a tower to reach a fragile egg hovering in mid-air, and then gently lower it to the ground by making the blocks under it disappear.
Then there’s the upside-down missions, where you’re climbing “down” into the sky. They were easily our least favorite, because they don’t really add anything new to the gameplay; they just screw up what was already there. Luckily, these are followed by the balancing missions, which are much more interesting. You have to pile up blocks on either side of a scale, making sure that neither side tips the scales or runs into the other. The power tower missions are fun, too, because they’re even more puzzle-like.
We enjoyed the auxiliary gameplay modes as well, especially the two types of multiplayer (WiFi racing and ghost racing over the internet). Going up against a buddy to build your stack adds a lot of zip to the game. You can also open up a free play mode after beating each island, and go after ngmoco’s typically long list of achievements.
We wanted to play our own music after listening to Topple 2′s refrain loop for the 50th time, but that’s not an option, sadly. We have much less patience for this oversight now than we did back in October, that’s for sure.
Overall, we found that Topple 2′s fun factor has scaled up nicely with its price. This sequel is a lot more elaborate than the original in terms of gameplay, and that’s exactly how it should be; it’s distinct enough to be its own game without losing that Topple charm. We recommend it.