Toy Bot Diaries is an original IP by IUGO, built from the ground up for iPhone… and it shows. They have crafted a game that plays to the iPhones strengths, specifically in its controls.
The Game features a toy robot that has awoken to find himself in a strange machine with no previous memories. Your job is to guide the little bot through the games puzzling platform levels, all the while searching for his lost data-tapes.
To control Toy Bot, simply tilt the iPhone left to right and he’ll march in that direction. He can’t jump, but instead he has a laser grappling beam which, in a nod to Bionic Commando, allows you to latch on to any metal surface and access areas that are out of reach. To activate it simply tap on any metal surface, holding your finger down on the screen as you do this will retract the grappling hook. Tilting left to right will swing you. While Toy Bot a bit slow on the ground, once he’s swinging in the air he’s as nimble as Tarzan!
Toy Bot also has magnetic feet, which when used in conjunction with the grappling beam allows you to attach yourself to metal objects and swing yourself and the object around the level. An example of this crops up in the first level, where you are required to drop a coin into a slot to raise a hatch. With the first coin you can simply push it into the slot using the tilt motion, but the second coin requires you to pick it up, grapple onto a wall mounted cog, swing it over an obstacle and then drop it into the slot. To activate the magnet, tap on him and you’ll here a hum to notify you that he’s in magnet mode… touch him again to turn it off!
Later these magnet and grapple puzzles get more complicated, there is some trial and error involved, and you won’t always be successful on your first run. Luckily Toy Bot Diaries has an auto save feature, which brings you back to the nearest checkpoint. It’s in these puzzle moments that Toy Bot really shines, you don’t need to find all the data-tapes to complete each level, but finding them is half the fun, so you’ll be missing out.
Graphics-wise the game is no slouch either, and IUGO have crafted some nice art for the level structure and character designs in a visual style similar to Flash. It’s in no way a visual feast like you would find on a PSP, but its definitely up to par with the majority of 2D platformers on the Nintendo DS. As well as the in game art, it also features some nicely created stills which appear every now and again during play when you have found a certain amount of data-tapes. These screens, presented in a graphic novel style, show how Toy Bot came to be. The further into the game you get, the more you’ll reveal about his origins and his reason for being.
Sound is top notch too, with good sound effects, such as the scream toy bot lets out when falling from great heights, but it’s the music that really shines. Each level has a new score, with a moody atmospheric feel that gels nicely with Toy Bot’s loneliness.
The game has been built with episodic distribution in mind. So from the off you only get 4 levels, with more promised on the way as separate games. But for only £2.39 ($3.99) you are easily getting your money’s worth.