Genre: Platformer, Action, Puzzle
System: Nintendo Switch (also on PC)
Developer|Publisher: Majestic Twelve | Art Games Studio
Age Rating: EU 7+ | US Everyone
Price: UK £11.29 | EU €12,49 | US $12.49
Release Date: October 22nd 2020
Review code provided with many thanks to Art Games Studio
Do the Robot
Toolboy is a 2D puzzle platformer where you play as a little robot who is called in to work on the weekend (think we all know that feeling). But soon the little robot discovers that the corporate overlords are up to no good. The game feels reminiscent of games like Abes Odyssey back on the old PlayStation in tone and design. The trouble is this design might not suit all gamers today.
Brilliant Metal World
Graphically I liked the style of Toolboy which presents well in TV and handheld modes. The game environments are presented in 3D models and the entire world feels alive and mechanical with everything having this metal sheen to it including your protagonist. As you move on the 2D plain you see machines working in the background accompanied by various industrial noises and beeps and boops. While Toolboy has got it going on in design and graphics sadly the gameplay quickly becomes a problem.
Left to Your Own Devices
When I first started playing Toolboy I walked up to a robot who told me to ‘Stop’ then a ‘Y’ button prompt appeared and I assumed this would progress the dialogue. Instead pressing ‘Y’ actually skips the dialogue so I basically missed an entire length of dialogue where the robot tells me to follow the blue area behind him. So before I made any progress at all in the game I died several times until I finally discovered the extra dialogue and made it through. Not the best start.
Toolboy gives very little instruction on controls and expects the player to fill in the gaps for themselves. Sometimes you will stop at computer terminals where you need to solve some puzzles but the game gives you little instruction on button prompts or even what your supposed to do at said terminal. It feels like a game of guess what the developer is thinking which would work fine if instructions were provided on the games controls but these are not even made available in the options menu.
I’ve Heard it’s a bit Robotic
The controls ironically are robotic. Jumping is clunky and the controls don’t feel smooth which makes platforming sections quite a challenge. If you get hit once, you die which will happen constantly. Fortunately checkpoints are not too far away so you can restart sections again. But this flow does not feel fun. I basically went from section to section before I ended up hitting a wall and stopping for a while out of frustration.
I wanted to finish by focusing on a few positives. I genuinely liked what Toolboy was attempting to achieve. As you progress through the game you unlock new abilities to solve the various puzzles. The game is always throwing new puzzles at you to test your brain to keep things new and refreshing. Unfortunately for me it felt more like it was testing my patience.
A Few Loose Bolts
Toolboy looks great graphically the mechanical world is interesting. But when it comes to playing, I spent more time being frustrated with the clunky controls. In its current state I can’t recommend Toolboy but maybe with some polish it could be quite the robotic gem. For now though approach with caution.
Final Verdict: I Don’t Know