Sunday, November 18

Review: Toast Time - Smash Up! [Nintendo Switch eShop]


It’s always interesting to check out a game that doesn’t quite play like anything else out there. Of course that’s a pretty risky thing to shoot for as a developer, but the hope is that the result is surprising and fun, potentially make a lasting impression rather than fighting for space with a ton of similar titles. Toast Time: Smash Up has a cool retro look, and a central mechanic I can’t say I’ve ever encountered before but I’m also a bit torn on what to think of it so while it is notable it has some things I’m less thrilled with too.


Coming over from the mobile space where it was played vertically, thus the bars to the outside, mechanically the simplicity of the game makes sense. You’re able to aim in any direction, shoot your toast (well, or another powered-up starch or some kind), or anchor yourself into place. What’s tricky, and why the anchor is necessary, is that your only means of movement is from the momentum of your shooting toast. The fact that your way of shooting things is also your means of getting around can make things challenging, especially as your enemies begin to accumulate and you’re in a mad dash through the final few seconds of time in a level hoping they don’t destroy your alarm clock, which would make you lose. If you’re desperate and can pull it off a slam into the ground can temporarily stun your foes but when the pressure is on that may be tough to reliably do.


One thing that I continued to struggle with, and what makes playing this in multiplayer a bit overwhelming, is since almost everything is only white on a colored background tracking your character can get tricky. The fact that your toaster and the toast you fling are relatively close in their respective sizes and that’s your default ammo probably didn’t help much either. When things get hectic, especially in multiplayer, where people were on-screen began to get away from them, and this was something everyone in my family had as a comment. The small colored hats people have did help a little but this is where the monochromatic look seemed to work against clarity.


While Toast Time: Smash Up works reasonably well as a very different single-player game and an oddly chaotic multiplayer experience it falls into the “acquired taste” category. If you’re seeking something arcade-ish that’s cute and a bit different it may well do the trick. Mixing action, some physics, and a minimalist art style in a new way was ambitious, whether or not that will equate to sustained enjoyment will likely vary in this case.


Score: 6

Pros:
  • Absolutely something different
  • Progression in the single-player campaign in the form of new gluten-rich weaponry
  • Multiplayer is certainly chaotic

Cons:
  • When things get frantic trying to quickly fire, hold position, and fire again is tricky
  • With a lot going on quickly it can get hard to easily track your toaster from the toast you normally fire
  • The experience is constrained to match the original mobile version. In handheld mode this makes things pretty small