Toy Bot, we hardly knew ye! Assuming that Toy Bot Diaries 3 is really Toy Bot’s final appearance on the App Store–and we sincerely hope it isn’t–we’re going to miss him dearly. His touch-friendly style of platforming was a lot of fun, and we enjoyed his sweetly innocuous disposition as well. The last game in the Toy Bot series sends the hero off in style by dialling up the difficulty and showcasing several new kinds of environmental puzzles. Unfortunately, it’s also the shortest chapter in a saga characterized in part by its brevity, and the abrupt ending left us a little flat.
We’ll refer you to our review of Toy Bot 2 to get an idea of Toy Bot’s basic controls and mechanics (as well as its presentation), so we can focus on the new stuff that TBD3 brings to the table. The first thing we noticed about the game is that it’s considerably more difficult than the first two–the timing puzzles are harder, the maneuvers have a lower margin of error, and it’s generally much easier to die across the board.
We felt this was a good thing, by and large, because it allowed us to test all of the Toy Bot skills we’d honed during the other games on some really tough challenges. Many of these take place in zero-G environments, or in areas where gravity switches polarity, so that up suddenly becomes down. Often you will fall right into instant death if you aren’t ready with Toy Bot’s grappling arm. Another cool new sequence is built around third-person gameplay through a surveillance camera. Your character is displayed on a faux black-and-white screen, with a row of colored buttons on the side; the buttons remotely operate features in the room, like platforms and gravity switches, while you tilt to move the Bot around.
These puzzles have tremendous promise, so we were disappointed to find only a few of them through the course of the game. One of these instances is during the final boss battle, which is formidably difficult, unlike anything else in the Toy Bot Trilogy–we died at least 10 times before finally making it through. It’s a fitting climax for the series, but there’s only a little more content after that before the game ends. The heightened difficulty means that Toy Bot Diaries 3 might take up to two hours to complete, like the other games, but that’s because you’ll die more often; you’re still getting less game for your money.
And that is why we can’t fully recommend Toy Bot Diaries 3 at $3.99, although it’s a very close call. We recommended the last game at that price point two months ago, but times are a-changin’ on the App Store, and we’re not sure that Toy Bot Diaries 3 has enough content on its own to warrant the purchase, given the present competition. On the other hand, if you look at Toy Bot Diaries 3 as part of a three-game series that costs $12, the proposition looks somewhat better. Basically, we think that Toy Bot 3 is worth buying if you’ve played and enjoyed the other two games, but we wouldn’t start out with it.