Tobe’s Vertical Adventure review

Rayteoactive presents Tobe’s Vertical Adventure, a magical journey back to the early days of gaming.  The colorful 2D platformer evokes memories of Ice Climbers as you follow Tobe as he quests at the behest of his angry girlfriend.  After being tasked to quit playing video games and find a real adventure, Tobe sets out to regain lost treasure on four islands.  This adventure, you’ll find, isn’t quite as simple as it seems.

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Tobe will have to work his way towards loot and captured friends while avoiding roaming baddies and dangerous stage hazards.  Not to worry, as Tobe is an experienced gamer, having played many a game that required treasure retrieval in similar situations.  Just when the new adventurer has things going for him, he’s in for a rude awakening.  Getting to the aforementioned treasure boxes seems all too easy, and it is; when our hero reaches his prize, the maze begins to collapse, spurring him on to exit before time runs out!

The controls are fairly simple, and the player can be instructed of them by reading in-game signs or simply access a menu at any time for a refresher course.  Though the input can be a bit difficult at times, players will soon have Tobe rolling, ascending with ropes, wall jumping, and even balloon floating thanks to the handful of moves at the hero’s disposal.  This moveset is even more dynamic when doubled, which is possible thanks to Tobe’s Vertical Adventure’s optional two-player local co-op mode.

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The presentation is easy on the eyes and ears.  Think of what an NES platformer game would look like with an HD remix and you’ll have a fair estimate of what’s in store for you with Tobe’s Vertical Adventure.  The graphics are pixelated candy, but for the near-animé cutscenes that color the story.  The music is at times forgettable and at others charming, but it ultimately fits the theme of the game.  Considering the title can be rushed through fairly quickly or explored leisurely (until you must escape the collapsing stage, of course) for a couple hours, the colorful presentation is right where it needs to be.

If watching one Tobe run around the screen in pursuit of treasure isn’t enough, why not double the fun?  A friend can jump in and lend a hand with two-player co-op mode.  The maps remain the same, but new mechanics like jumping off of one another can make life a little easier for our hero(es).  While co-op multiplayer is unfortunately limited to local support, perhaps this restriction is appropriate in that it doesn’t undermine the nostalgia inherent in every other aspect of the game.

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At 240 :MSPoints:, Tobe’s Vertical Adventure is a fair deal for a bit of rekindled memories appreciable by one or two players.  There are still a few kinks to work out, like unresponsive controls and hard-to-open chests, but an upcoming playtest hinted at by the devs will hopefully address some of the issues.  After all, it wasn’t long ago that the game’s controls only utilized the d-pad; after feedback, Tobe’s Vertical Adventure now allows the use of the analog stick as well.  While this is perhaps the game’s only departure from the glance back at games of yesteryear, the accessibility of a game’s controls is just too big an issue to ignore.

That said, the only real drawback of the game has to be the controls themselves.  Like the classics that the title mimics, the handling of characters can be downright punishing at times.  Throwing an NES paddle was one thing, but throwing your Xbox 360 controller is another story.  Video game accessories just don’t come cheap anymore!  Remember early on when timing and precision were key, and a running jump had to be performed just right or you’d have to start over?  Vertical Adventure brings us back to that trying era, when pride would well up at pulling off a carefully measured move, and failing to do so by the slightest degree would set tempers flaring.  It seems at times that we are nudged (or outright pushed) towards the co-op mode just to beat a level that surely is stacked against us…because we were absolutely on point with every move.  Every.  Move.  Like the older games, however, Vertical Adventure will have you picking up your controller, no matter how mad you’ve gotten at the game.  Once you’re back in the action, you’ll be assuring yourself that you’ll stop after just one more level.

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Will Tobe ignore his girlfriend’s pleas to set down his controller and find a real adventure?  Will he attain the treasures rumored to be hidden throughout the land?  Will the questions cease?  In order to find out you’ll have to purchase the game yourself…or at least try the demo.

Tobe’s Vertical Adventure costs 240 :MSPoints: and more information as well as the trial and full versions of the game can be found on the Marketplace.

Review by Iggypu.


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