Thursday, April 8, 2021

Toree 3D (NSW) Review

We continue this month of reviews on SuperPhillip Central with another brand-new review. On the eve of its release, we turn our focus to a bite-sized 3D platformer, Toree 3D. For a dollar, can you really go wrong with this game? Let's find out with the SPC review!

A quick and fun 3D platformer you can buy on the "cheep"

With the Nintendo eShop, I've gotten to a point of paranoia when I see games listed at launch at one dollar. Too many times these games that are at this price point turn out to be low effort, less than great games that sell purely on their $1 price, because "hey, if it's bad, I'd only be out a dollar!" Thankfully, for Toree 3D from developer SIACTRO and publisher Diplodocus Games, it may be a dollar game, but it's by no means one that can be described as "low effort" or "less than great". This 3D platformer is a quality speed-running game that deserves any Nintendo Switch platforming fan's attention.

Toree 3D is described as "a bite-sized 3D platformer", and that's an incredibly apt description for it. This platformer is a quick one, as you can run (and jump) through all of its levels in less than 45 minutes. However, there's more to Toree 3D than just playing through its nine levels and calling it a day.

The visual style on display in Toree 3D is reminiscent of old PlayStation games, only touched up and looking clean.

Starting off with Toree 3D, you have eight starting levels to choose from, playing them in any order. Of the eight levels there are four themed locales each that they take place in, from rushing across city rooftops in a colorful metropolis to leaping off moving traffic on a futuristic highway, or slipping and sliding along icy platforms in a snowy winter wonderland, the levels in Toree 3D offer short bursts of entertainment, smart level design, and of course, plenty of motivation to speed run through them.

Levels in Toree 3D offer plenty of obstacles and gimmicks to them. There are moving platforms, boost pads and conveyor belts that increase Toree's running speed in the directions that point, as well as wind gusts that Toree can use to gain height--or be used as obstacles to attempt to push poor Toree off platforms. Enemies are to be avoided, as unlike a traditional 3D platformer, there's no means to defeat these foes. Instead, touching them instantly K.O.s our feathered friend. Fortunately, plenty of checkpoints are available to instantly revive a doomed Toree to their location upon death, so there's little downtime between deaths. Of course, better yet is to not die at all!

There really are three objectives in each level of Toree 3D, though the game doesn't exactly spell it out for you. The first is to simply reach the goal. The second requires you to collect all of the stars in a level. Most of these are in plain sight, and you'll pretty much run into most of them without trying. A select few are hidden and require some mild exploration, but this happens rather rarely. Finally, the last objective is to reach the goal as fast as humanly--or in Toree's case--as chickly possible. 

Collect every one of these stars in all nine levels to make one of the two unlockable characters playable.

Levels aren't too terribly long, with most of my speed running attempts taking anywhere between 1-2 minutes to get through the levels. My beginning speed-running career in Toree 3D saw plenty of "C" ranks, as the times needed to get that much desired "A" rank are pretty tight. However, because levels aren't lengthy affairs, and furthermore, they're just plain fun to run (and jump) through, I found myself with plenty of motivation and enjoyment in repeatedly going through these levels. Each run would see me dare to make even more death-defying jumps and double jumps in my attempt to shave seconds off my run. Usually these attempts would end in failure, but eventually I'd make my way to my coveted trophy, that prized "A" rank.

Included in Toree 3D are three playable characters, though two of these need to be unlocked through collecting all of the stars and what I would assume is clearing all nine levels with an "A" rank. I say "I would assume" because I've got two more levels to somehow figure out the best speed-running strategies for, as well as execute them to actually get the needed "A" ranks. You can bet your beak that I'm not about to give up on that challenge, Toree! The unlockable character earned from collecting every level's amount of stars has unlimited flight, allowing you to flap and fly freely through levels--though their levels are not scored by ranks. Sorry, you'll have to do your speed runs legitimately--a lesson I learned quite quickly.

Overall, Toree 3D is a wonderfully playing 3D platformer, but I do have one slight issue with the game. That involves the camera control. There is currently no way to invert the camera's X and Y axes, which takes a stubborn amount of getting used to, for sure. Many times in levels you need to not only control Toree delicately, but the camera as well. It's not too much of an issue when you're casually running through levels, but when you're trying to speed run, one mistaken camera turn can result in a botched run. It's my hope that the developer adds camera options in a future patch.

Toree dresses for success with this adorable set of earmuffs.

 Toree 3D delivers a delightful low-polygon aesthetic to players. It's like the developer took a PlayStation 1 game and put it in high definition and resolution. It makes sense, too, as SIACTRO and Diplodocus Games' past title, Macbat 64, brought with it a Nintendo 64 visual look to it. Now we just need their next game to feature a Sega Saturn aesthetic, and the circle of major fifth generation console visual styles will be complete! Nevertheless, Toree 3D runs well with nary a major case of slowdown or frame-rate issues in sight. There's some nice touches here visually, too, such as seeing our fine feathered friend don earmuffs in the icy levels, for instance. Additionally, the music of Toree 3D is catchy, and it really got me into the groove to race through levels with my adrenaline pumping. 

Hitch a ride across these moving trucks in this Neo-Tokyo-like level.

Toree 3D more than justifies its dollar price tag, offering well executed 3D platforming and engaging levels that encourage repeated play-throughs to attempt to aim for those coveted "A" ranks (though leaderboards, even offline ones, would have been appreciated). This is a game that is perfect to pick up and play, put down, and then come back to now and again. It's a beauty to look at, it runs well, and it even has some cool, light spooky elements as well, though these seem to clash with the style of the game ultimately. Still, if you're up for a quick, bite-sized 3D platformer, have a dollar or some Gold Points to spare, then you should definitely download Toree 3D.

[SPC Says: B]

A code was received by SPC from the publisher for the purpose of writing this review.

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