Rayteoactive have put together a cute platformer that feels a decade too late, playing and looking just like an old school 16 bit game, and really offering nothing innovative to the genre, Tobe’s Vertical Adventure doesn’t seem to strive to make any type of impact.
Presented in retro-style 8 bit graphics, anyone who has experienced 8 bit as a child will be instantly surging with a sense of nostalgia. Crisp colors and cute, simplistic animations really add to the retro feel. The art style does a good job in differentiating between platforms and walls, letting the player know which are hollow, solid, collapsible, or hiding unexpected straps. Each level holds it own color scheme that correlates with the location, giving you more of an atmospheric feel for the environments rather than just relying on ascetics. The game is cute and colorful-which makes it fun to look at.
[review pros="Great Retro Graphics, Enjoyable on first time through" cons="Simplistic gameplay, awkward controls, no difficulty levels, repetitive levels" score=71]
Using either the D-pad or analog thumb stick to move Tobe, and using face buttons to perform various actions, the game controls were a little tricky to get use to. The majority of the controls were good and the only main concern came in with the jumping. Rather than just jumping from plat form to platform, you are able to run up walls and jump off them to reach more difficult areas. When running you will push the analog stick (or D-pad) in the direction you want to jump in. When you want to jump off a wall, however, you need to push the analog stick in the direction of the wall and not the direction you want to jump in. This feels a little awkward as you are enticed to aim the character in the direction you want him to jump in. This finds you falling and having to start the climb over again. Controls could use a bight more polish sometimes they felt a little unresponsive or awkward.
The soundtrack stays true to the retro feel with ‘bleeps’ and ‘bloops’ being the main element and with the mix of percussions to give a modern touch. The songs seem to take influences from some modern electronic music, but keep an 8 bit generation feel to them. Each world contains its own song with each song being great to listen to as they are well produced and put together. If there is anything to note about this game it’s the fantastic soundtrack.
With four worlds made up of four stages, the game can be completed on single player in around 3 to 5 hours at most. On multiplayer co-op, that time could either be extended or cut down, depending if you and your partner are goofing off or not. Levels become repetitive very quickly with only once or twice offering anything new to the game, other than that it become hard to tell the difference between stages. Little frustrations, such as certain items not being able to be picked up that regularly should, and crashing issues, puts it at the lower end of the list of games to re-play. Lack of online leader boards gives you no incentive to play the game more than once, and most disappointing are that there are no difficulty options or unlockable content after completing the game. The game becomes incredibly simple once you figure out the levels, and with no way to increase the difficulty the game will become boring and dull very quickly. With minor frustrations here and there, awkward controls, lack of stat tracking, no difficulty settings, and repetitive levels. Tobe’s Vertical Adventure is enjoyable the first time through and perhaps once again with someone who has yet to experience it.