Review: Toree 2

 A perfectly bite-sized gaming sequel.

Console: Nintendo Switch

Earlier this year I reviewed Toree 3D, a bite-sized 3D platformer that floated around the Nintendo EShop for only 1,- In comparison to the kazillion other games at around the same price, it is actually good. Not just good, excellent even. The perfect bite-sized experience. Now, to my utter delight, a sequel has dropped. And once again Toree 2 is a well-made, fun and clever little platformer and an improvement over the original, if not in only small ways.

Let’s dive in.

Toree 2 is one of the most straightforward sequels I've ever seen: it's basically just Toree 3D again. The graphics, gameplay and even the 'story' have remained unchanged. It's still a PS1 inspired, bright and go-lucky 3D platformer with a bit of a horror edge to it. It just has some improvements made to it. For starters, the camera control update of Toree 3D is standard here in Toree 2. Neat.

Toree 3D consists of 9 different levels for you to tackle in any order you please, except for the final one. Each of the 8 normal levels is a linear affair with a clear path forward and with only very few enemies. While very short, they are well designed, fun and offer more variety than you’d think even if the concept is shared between 2 levels.

The real meat comes in the speed running aspect. After completing each level you're given a grade based on how fast you completed the level and how many stars you collected. The faster and more precise you are, the better the grade. This gives each level a form of replay ability and something to work up towards besides the unlockable playable characters.

I the original, the timer would keep on ticking after restarting at a checkpoint. Here, the time gets resets to the time you had on the clock when you hit that checkpoint. It's a nice change for more casual players like me, but I can't help but feel it will also hinder the enjoyment of the more dedicated speed running crowd that liked Toree 3D so much.
Toree 2 also has some extra ways to gain speed, like the slingshot you see in the background. Neat.

The final, 9th level is unlocked after beating the regular 8 and is where the game has another nice improvement. It's an actual boss fight this time around. It's nothing too fancy, it's a 2-phase kind of deal, but it is a surprisingly tough one. It's not maddingly difficult or anything but it does require good timing and reflexes. Above all else, it was a lot of fun.

The 'story' of Toree 2 is extremely basic to the point that it's basically non-existent. Toree's Ice Cream Cone gets stolen and you must get it back. That's it. The only reason why I address this 'story' is that it's where the sequel improves over its predecessor. In Toree 3D the 'story is the same but you could miss it completely as it's rather vague. In Toree 2 it's made more clear. The game starts and ends with some cutscenes. A neat improvement that highlights Toree 2's increased production values.

Some of the issues I had with the original I have with this sequel as well. Firstly, I did have some moments in which I clipped through some objects. No 'screen goes entirely pink for a few seconds even the entire screen becoming entirely pink for a second. Nothing big or game-breaking but something I felt like worth mentioning regardless. There’s also some weird choices when it comes to the button inputs. B is the confirm button, not like it usually is. That one still annoys me.

I also feel that the horror elements don't pan out as well here as they did in the original. It's understandable. That there were some horror-inspired visuals popping up in the game was a surprise of the original so that novelty has now worn off. A returning player like me will be expecting it and I can't say the game does a good job of still surprising me. What I saw the concepts were mostly reused from Toree 3D, sadly enough.

As the final improvement, there is the music. I think the main theme of Toree 3D is better than that of the original I think the music of Toree 2 is better overall. Each level has its own unique track now and there's even a track with vocals in here which was surprising to me.

Conclusion

Toree 2 is, when it comes down to it, another Toree 3D but with some neat improvements.

It’s a small but well-made 3D platformer that's charming and a lot of fun. As such, my advice is the same as the original. If you’re a fan of platformers, want to play something that you can just pick up and put down again without, then you can’t go wrong with Toree 2. It’s only 1,- on the Nintendo Switch EShop so if you have any Gold Points laying around you can essentially get this game for free.

Comments