Toricky – the Flappy Bird and Sonic the Hedgehog hybrid
Another day, another 2D indie platformer hitting Steam; Toricky. The latest one a game that’s apparently a hybrid between Flappy Bird and Sonic the Hedgehog. Not to mention some bright jazzy graphics and heavily stylised visuals. Boasting ‘unique mechanics based on flying’ as their selling point, how does it really compare?
Once again it’s another game from the people at OtakuMaker.com, what with their heavy output of late. Developed by ‘Atelier Melon-Kissa’ they’re a relatively new developer by the looks of things, with a penchant for all things kawaii and anime. This aesthetic is more than apparent in their latest venture.
Taking control of Toricky, a small green bird kitted out with flight goggles, your aim is to find the ‘crystars’ and restore the legendary palace to its former glory. So far so rudimentary. The ‘hook’ with this, though, is that you have to fly around hoisting objects in your claws. Sonic had running, you have flight. Actually, didn’t Tails have flight as well, a mechanic which kind of rendered the entire game pointless when you found you could just fly over the lot? But I digress…
So, starting out with some of the positives, the first thing that hits you is the graphics. As soon as you jump into the game it’s immediately bright and colourful reminiscent of the retro era it’s attempting to mimic. For the most part it does a good job here, as the characters are well designed and the levels are vibrant and engaging. It might be a bit of a Sonic clone, but it still looks nice, even if I did start to feel like I would rather go and play ‘Generations’ instead, which probably wasn’t the intended effect. The idea itself, though, is a rather interesting one, if only on paper. Taking something like Flappy Bird and putting it into the Sonic format is a rather innovative idea, if not entirely successful. I was given the option of the D-pad on my controller, and I dread to think what the keyboard was like. Still, it was a nice idea, which is something I guess.
Besides the ‘experimental’ controls, there was the level design, which was fairly simple to follow. Even though your ‘assistant’ who liked nothing more than to constantly interrupt the gameplay with copious instructions, along with lame attempts at meta-humour (seriously, stop commenting on the game being a game, it’s just annoying), it was fairly easy to find your way around. Finally, the music was also worth noting, something which the promotionals felt to especially be the case given that the soundtrack was also on sale for another fiver. That being said, though, it was good (although maybe not something I’d go out of my way to listen to), giving the overall production a sense of weight and heft.
Now it’s on to the negatives of Toricky, which disappointingly there are a few too many of for my liking. Starting off with the price, it feels way too much for what is ostensibly an indie game by a first time developer with a lower end platformer. Not to mention the add-ons, as it all felt a little overpriced. Then there’s the tutorials, which were simply intrusive dialogue boxes that felt jarring to the gameplay. Continually freezing me mid-air started to get a little frustrating after a while, especially when a lot of the back-and-forth felt so superfluous. With the ‘story’ itself being so inconsequential as well, I found myself caring less and less. Sonic never stopped you mid-stream to catch up on what Eggman had for lunch. You want the game to be fast and flashy to fit the visuals, whilst this just felt a little stilted.
Adding to this there was no actual real driving force behind the narrative, besides apparently lugging crates around. I knew I was supposed to be doing something with crystals (sorry, ‘crystars’) and save some magical palace or whatever, but everything felt a little aimless after a while. This was always one of the criticisms of Sonic as well (and I know I’m treading on thin ice here) in that if you actually stopped and looked at the levels then they were a little awkward. Mario was always the franchise that understood the genius of simplicity in their level designs. With Sonic, though, you were meant to go fast and here you just, well; don’t. That’s where we get to the big drawback, which is the awful cumbersome controls. They had an interesting idea, so why these controls is beyond me, as it’s just so much wasted potential. After a while I managed to comprehend it on the D-pad, but it still never felt ‘fun’ and more of a constant chore. Personally I would’ve used the stick with button presses for flaps (and maybe some boosts/charges thrown in there on the other buttons), but that’s just me. Plus no way in hell was I using that keyboard.
In summation, then, I personally wouldn’t recommend this game as it stands. There definitely is room for improvement, but currently it’s not much fun for a tenner.