Tokobot PlayStation Portable Review

3D platformers are all over the place these days. No matter what console or handheld you choose pick up many titles are always vying for your attention. Even though the genre is saturated in games, it could be argued that the genre is also quite stale lacking in any innovation with only one or two releases per year being must-play titles. Most of these “must-plays” also appear on consoles rather than handhelds, so does the PSP really have a chance for standout game in the genre?

You Put The Lime In The Tokobot

So first of what is Tokobot about? Well as with most platforms the story is very thin. In the game you control a little guy called “Bolt” who is the Lara Croft/Indiana Jones/Sydney Fox of the world of Tokobot. As Bolt you raid some tombs in your basic platforming style, but you don’t do it on your own as you get some help from a little group of guys called the “Tokobot”. The Tokobot help Bolt as he was the first to find them. When you start the game you just have six of the little critters, but as you advance you get more and more. The Tokobots are not just an added-on gimmick though – they change the way you approach and play the game and as a result make it a very fun game to play.

Gameplay is centred more around how you control the Tokobots rather than how you control Bolt. You can place the Tokobots in formations and these formations let you reach places you could not normally reach or let you defeated enemies that try to take you down. You start the game with only three of these formations, but as you go deeper into the game you can get more advanced formations leading to some really cool additions to your arsenal. As you can see, Tokobot is not your average platformer and is even a bit innovative in the process. To use these formations is just a simple tap of the R-button making your Tokobots join hands and hop into action. To learn the additional formations you must collect them (just like you’d expect from a platformer). The game gets even better when you must use loads of these new formations in quick succession to get to a new area then fight a battle before forming a ladder and climbing away. All of this is done with considerable ease thanks to fantastic controls.

Presentation

Tokobot both looks and sounds pretty good. Let’s talk graphics first, or more specifically the environments. Each of the levels in the game share the same archaeological temple kind of theme so it is disappointing there isn’t a lot of variety on show. Each of the levels however are very well put together with a nice amount of detail being used to bring the game to life thus making it one of the prettier titles to look at on the PSP’s screen, if not the most diverse. Bolt looks okay, but the Tokobots are a joy to look at and dear, I say they’re some of the cutest critters to look at in the history of gaming, but once again all of them look similar. The animation is top notch and when you see the Tokobots hold hands to do stuff it’s enough to make you say “awwwwwww” (I did not say awwwww though, and let no one tell you I did – you have no proof!!!).

Now onto the music – as with most games, Tokobot sounded a little tiny on the PSP’s speaker, but after I took out my head phones I was not disappointed with what I heard. There are a nice set of catchy melodies used over the course of the game, matching up with their location. Maybe they repeat a bit much (that seems to be a running fault I have with the game), but they are a joy to listen to the first few times you hear them. The sound effects are right up there with the best ever done and really help bring the game to life. Sadly no voice acting is used in the game other than a few grunts, but maybe that’s a blessing in disguise as you are left to imagine what the characters would sound like and build that part of the world for yourself.

Overall

All in all Tokobot was a surprisingly fun game to play. It starts off a bit slow, but after about 15 minutes the action heats up and the game gets very fun to take part in. Over the next few hours the game does have down points where it can get a boring, but there is always something new waiting around the next corner to grab your attention. While Tokobot is not the must-play platformer I mentioned at the start of this review, it ranks high on the long list of games the genre has amassed over the years. It could have been a bit longer and could have had a few more modes to play about with (all of that could be rectified with a sequel though and if this game ever spawns one I will most definitely be picking it up. Tokobot won’t be the best game you play all year, but you may remember the fun times you had with it come the end of 2006.

8.3 out of 10

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