This review originally appeared within iLounge’s iOS Gems series within the compilation article, iPhone Gems: Twitch Action Games, Crazy, Cool, or Kusoge. Additional details may be found in the original article.
First things first: hats off to IUGO Mobile Entertainment for trying to make an original iPhone OS game with novel gameplay, device-optimized artwork, and a reasonable price. Toy Bot Diaries ($4) is a platform game of sorts, which means that you’re walking and jumping from platform to platform while interacting with objects, though this isn’t the same type of platformer as Super Mario Brothers, Sonic the Hedgehog, or other famed entrants in that category.
It’s actually more of a cerebral, puzzle-oriented game, where the fact that you’re walking around isn’t what’s important; rather, you’re trying to find ways around obstacles that have been placed in your way.
Your character, a toy robot, wanders through stages in an effort to recover cell phone-shaped “datapads” that contain pieces of his lost memory. He has a grappling hook, activated by touching certain surfaces, and magnetic boots, which both enable him to stick to special surfaces and attract certain items. At some points, you’ll be grappling from wall to wall, while at others, you’re trying to figure out how to use your magnet boots and hook together to pull a quarter above some gears, deposit it in a slot, and then trigger a door to open.
There are four levels, each with multiple parts, and the “Entry 1” name suggests that there are more to come.
While Toy Bot’s a cute and pretty smart game with pleasant music, it’s still not in the same league with platformers we’ve played on top handheld devices. Put aside the bugs—we’ve walked through a closed doorway, found our game in progress erased, and so on—and the platform game that’s left is so-so on control, relying on tilt gestures to move your character and touch gestures to activate the hook and boots, their inaccuracy tolerable only because the game is forgiving and not on a timer. It’s obvious that IUGO is trying hard to make a game that uses the device well, and that they’ve delivered more actually developed software for the price than many of the brazen people out there, but we’d wait for the inevitable sequel to see what this team can really do.