Review: Toree 2 (Nintendo Switch)

5 mins read

Review by Matt S.

I’m annoyed by Toree 2. My irritation comes with the disclaimer that this game costs less than a cup of bad coffee, and yes I do know that in that context, for the price, there’s nothing inherently wrong with Toree 2. On the other hand, there’s so much potential with this mini series and it could have been so much more if the developers were more ambitious with it. This is a game that I would have rathered cost ten times as much, and also been ten times more substantial.

I was pretty lenient with the original Toree 3D, because it was a cute little effort from a tiny indie developer to appeal to the fans of 3D platformers on the Nintendo 64. Most specifically, I loved how the game’s garish colour system reminded me of titles like Chameleon Twist. Do you remember Chameleon Twist? Even if you were around for the N64, the answer is probably “no”. The two games in that series were that niche that we’re never going to see them on the N64 Online Service on the Switch. But I remember them fondly, and if nothing else I loved how Toree 3D seemed to remember them too.

The problem that the game had was that it was so bite-sized that there was just nothing to get your teeth sunk into. Even at that price of less than a cup of bad coffee, it felt like it was poor value because it never gave players a chance to get into it. It was blink-and-you’ll-miss-it stuff. I was willing to forgive the original game on the basis that it was a first outing and perhaps a sequel would deliver more of a cohesive and complete vision.

I actually wrote words to that effect in the review: “The biggest pity is that the developers were so modest in their scope. Perhaps this little experiment is just to test the waters and get some money together for a more ambitious second project.” Sadly, it seems now that the development team simply don’t have ambitions at all.

Much like the first, Toree 2 is a reasonably tight 3D platformer where you are challenged with speedrunning through environments as quickly as possible, collecting stars along the way. At the end of each of the nine levels, you’re graded based on how quickly you can get to the end, and the star collection is a secondary objective (which is just as well, since stars are often located in out-of-the-way locations). Even accounting for the need to replay levels at least twice to achieve both objectives, with each level lasting 2-3 minutes, you’re looking at an hour’s play. There are bonus characters to unlock in Toree 2, but that’s about it for rewards, and with so little to the game it’s not like any of the characters have enough personality that unlocking them feels like a reward. 

I’m all for short games, and if a game really caught my attention I’d be more than happy to pay the equivalent of many coffees for an hour or two’s play. My issue is when the game’s so truncated in its brevity that it can’t deliver on its promise. If Toree 2 is indeed a nostalgic love letter to the platformers of yesteryear, then the developers should have understood what made those titles cohesive, character-driven experiences. Toree 2’s simply too limited and thin to deliver atmosphere, character, or a cohesive 3D platformer experience. As the saying goes: fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. I’m not making the mistake of giving this developer the benefit of the doubt this time around.

– Matt S.
Find me on Twitter: @mattsainsb

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