Toy Bot is rapidly becoming one of the iPhone’s most expansive franchises, with five games and multiple cameos under his metallic belt in just one year. Every one of these games has impressed us, until now. Toy Bot Mini Missions just doesn’t hold up IUGO’s toy wonder as well as it could.
Conceptually, Toy Bot’s latest adventure is an excellent attempt to draw in casual customers. The idea of having bite-sized missions that can be completed in under a minute is instantly attractive to those who don’t have the time to sit down for long sessions. However, the unsuccessful implementation of this idea will likely keep the target audience away and frustrate even those who prefer their games on the hardcore side.
The cowboy hat means business.
The biggest flaw that is apparent even in the earliest stages is the difficulty of many levels. Throughout the game you will be asked to find solutions to each action-based puzzle without detailed knowledge of the gameplay mechanics (there is no tutorial). On top of this, difficult feats like balancing a character across moving gears without touching electric shockwaves are frustratingly hard to pull off due to clunky controls.
You move your character through a level the size of the iPhone’s screen with only two core buttons: left and right. On some levels, special buttons will appear to change an object’s rotation, switch between lasers, and perform other actions. This has a lot of potential, but the occasionally unresponsive and overly sensitive controls mean your character will not always do what you would expect. It is definitely possible to adjust to these over time, but some further polish and well-implemented accelerometer controls for balancing could have gone a long way towards making the game a more enjoyable experience.
Nightmare at 20,000 feet.
Unlocking the next world requires completing eight of the ten levels in each world. To get the special character specific to that world, though, you need to beat all the levels. Different characters are basically for show as they have no impact on gameplay, but we loved the chance to play as War Bot, Drone Bot, and others among the average heroes. There are even new bots with Star Hogs and Zombie Assault themes, but the latter must be unlocked by getting the gold gear for the goal time in each of the 100 missions (even more unrealistic than beating the already difficult levels).
In other iterations of the Toy Bot franchise, we highly enjoyed the quirky stories. To our disappointment, this game had none of them. While it was likely IUGO’s intent to leave this aspect out, we would have rather seen a story-driven game with more structure and characters with special abilities.
If you are a major fan of the Toy Bot series and don’t mind wrestling with some unnerving levels, the many cameos and familiar areas might keep you entertained. Everybody else should stay away. It seems like it’s time for Toy Bot to take a much-needed break before entering the scene again.