Simultaneity is the property of two events happening at the same time in at least one frame of reference. And I suck at it.
Now this is plain cruel. I am not the best shoot ém up player out there, as I am slightly slow and have a tendency to sacrifice my craft to kill the enemy. This would probably give me a medal, and a nice funeral in real life. In shoot ém up games there are no bonuses to sacrificing oneself for the good of the world. You usually end up with all bonuses, and extra weapons lost. That is the case in Toybox.
At the same time, as I am supposed to be blasting robots, flying saucers and enemy bombers I have to keep track of a match three game. Yes that is true, the evil developer has put a match three game to the right of the action game. Creating a match of three blocks blasts all enemies to smithereens on the left side, and upgrades the weaponry of the craft you are piloting. Creating chained matches gives more points, and extra lives. I have yet to create a proper chained match consciously, as I simply run out of runtime to devote to the process.
Controlling the craft on the left side is quite simple, and there are three different control options. I prefer not having my finger over the craft, and thankfully there are two schemes that allow for either free placement, or a relative placement of the thumb. The craft is highly responsive, and I never die because of the controls.
The match three puzzler is limited to four rows to drop the coloured blocks down. Matches can be made either horizontally, or vertically. The trick is setting up combos, but as I stated earlier I run out of brainpower to get really great matches. I am not that good at match games even when I have time to make my moves, but here it becomes really hard even though there are only four rows to drop blocks down. Initially you only get two colours, but soon more colours start appearing. Controlling the blocks is easy. Just slide from left to right, and down when you are in the row you want to drop it into. If you don’t drop it, the block will fall on it’s own momentum momentarily.
I had an absolute blast playing Toybox the first time around, and even managed to get into the top twenty percent of the world. The second time I managed to get into the top ten percent of all players. Quite frankly most players have to be three year olds that have got this game on their iPad or iPhone due to the name of the game.
There is only one level available each week, and then it changes and the leaderboards reset. This is the only content the game has to offer, and I was actually chocked at the lack of content. I wanted to play proper levels, and explore a story mode using two game mechanics at the same time. Now it feels like a proof of concept rather than a finished game, and I really hope that more content gets added to fuel the game.
Toybox is a cute game with a realistic approach to the presentation. The match three board looks like a wooden game that I can probably find a similar design to in my childrens toy cupboard. The shooter side looks like if toys where moving across a wallpaper in a kids room. I found all aspects of the presentation to be highly appealing. Pressing two buttons to start the game just to get a good placement for the thumbs are brilliant for example. When blasting away enemies you affect the music, but I can’t say that it feels integrated well enough to be called user generated. It is action generated though, but not with any conscious plan to the sounds from the player.
I also think this would have been perfect for the iPad, but now it is only released in a version native to the iPhone. I played it mostly on the iPad in double sized mode. It felt much more natural when I had proper space to move about than on the smaller screen. Hopefully it gets an update adding universal support.
Toybox feels like a name not really suitable to the game considering the meager amount of content. Hopefully the formula can be expanded with a story, progressively harder levels and more variation. At least some sort of mission objectives would give it something more to come back to. The presentation definitely deserves more than having players diving into the game a couple of times just to forget about it.
Toybox $0.99 iPhone version
Seller: Samuel Baird / Barrel of Donkeys