After Dark: Flying Toaster

Toast is a simple pleasure. Hot buttered, slathered with Bovril or buried under marmalade, it's quick, easy to make and delicious. There are times when you'd rather have a slice of white than a three course meal at Gordon Ramsay's gaff at Selfridges, and you know it.

After Dark: Flying Toaster is hoping to cash in on this same appeal, by ostensibly offering a no-frills but ultimately satisfying snack. But does it hit the spot?

Based on a series of screensavers from the 1990s, when computer monitors were the size of washing machines and washing machines were the size of small cars, Flying Toaster stars a (what else?) toaster with wings that you have to pilot through a series of obstacle-strewn levels.

Scrolling from left to right, it's a one-thumb game that requires you to avoid the various hazards by pressing a button – any button – to flap your wings and rise up the screen. In this manner you can avoid the obstacles and enemies that are determined to prevent you from ever crisping another teacake.

The challenges you face depend on the level you're playing, so one session might find you flying above a city's rooftops at night, avoiding skyscrapers and marauding aliens, and another plunges you beneath the waves where stricken submarines and monstrous fish abound.

These are the things you have to avoid, but there are also numerous pick-ups that you'll need to make a beeline for. Most important among these are the slices of toast that keep your power metre topped up. Flapping your wings uses up energy: if you run out you've got little choice but to plough into the scenery.

This will cost you lives and even though you start with five at the beginning of every level, you'll burn through them pretty fast. The fact is it's awfully difficult to control your flying toaster, which is as unwieldy an airborne object as it sounds.

You can't manoeuvre left or right, only up and down, and that isn't in a terribly responsive fashion. It'll have you cursing Flying Toaster from the first level in – never a good sign. This is compounded by having to restart the level right back at the beginning if you falter.

Although the levels are short and relatively varied, they become a chore when you've got to guide your winged appliance through the same gaps in the landscape time after time. Of course, you're expected to get better and avoid them, but you'll find it difficult to muster the enthusiasm to return often enough to improve.

Sometimes simple can mean bad and, in this case, you get the impression that very little thought has gone into the game. If you could fire croutons at the enemies in a bread-based take on Space Invaders, say, things would be much better. But because you're limited to avoiding these obstacles that are intent on crashing into you, frustration sets in early on and never really dissipates.

After Dark: Flying Toaster could have been a quirky shooter with loaves of humour but instead it's left with a hole in its centre that'd put a bagel to shame.

After Dark: Flying Toaster

Not the best thing since sliced bread, not even close