Game Reviews

Toy Bot Diaries Entry 1

Star onStar onStar onStar onStar off
Toy Bot Diaries Entry 1

Cute robots are SO in fashion this season, thanks to Pixar's WALL-E movie. And we all know how cool iPhone apps are, given the events of the last month.

So it stands to reason that for now, at least, Toy Bot Diaries is the most topically hip mobile game on any platform.

Developer IUGO's timing couldn't be better, although we guess it could have slapped the Olympic logo on it, got Katy Perry to do the soundtrack, and had a level where the robot invades Georgia if they really wanted to be of the moment.

But anyway, a cute toy robot on iPhone it is. And Toy Bot Diaries is pretty innovative too, making full use of the iPhone's tilt and touch controls, while this Entry 1 is the first instalment of a planned episodic series.

You're not actually given any info about who the titular toy bot is, or what he's doing. That seems deliberate, since as you progress through the game, you find his memories - still images that build together into a sequence. We won't spoil it by giving any more details.

The game itself is a side-scrolling platform-puzzler. You tilt left and right to make your bot walk, while tapping on anything metallic fires out a grappling line, which you can shorten to haul yourself towards whatever you're attached to, while tilting to swing.

That's how you move around, but you can also turn on your magnetic boots by tapping on the bot, which is handy for grabbing objects, and then using your grapple to haul them somewhere else.

The puzzles you'll find revolve around using these simple controls. The game's all about exploring your surroundings, figuring out what needs to be done to get past the next obstacle, then doing it.

The first thing to say about Toy Bot Diaries is that it's a lovely piece of work, from the thought that's gone into the levels and control system, through to the comical cry of the bot when he falls down holes.

The second thing to say, though, is that it's quite difficult. Or to be more specific, if your brain isn't absolutely tuned into the puzzles, you might get frustrated.

It happened to us fairly early in the first level, until we realised we had to grab a bit of metal, haul it up above and use it to block a sliding wall, so that we'd be able to get past.

In short, if lateral thinking isn't your forte, Toy Bot Diaries may not be for you.

However, that leaves plenty of gamers who'll relish it. I downloaded it this morning, and have just finished a monster session where (even if it was for a review) I couldn't have torn myself away from it.

It makes a good companion game to existing iPhone title Enigmo, in fact. Very playable and ruthlessly addictive, but also markedly tough on the grey cells.

Well, the world needs a few games like this, and iPhone is hardly ill-stocked for more casual fare.

Toy Robot Diaries is truly a game worth getting your teeth into. Four levels might not sound like much, but they're decent sizes, and at GBP 2.39 represent good value for money.

We'll certainly be keen to get our thumbs on the second episode, anyway. If you relish a challenge, this is well worth a visit to the App Store.

Toy Bot Diaries Entry 1

This action puzzler makes great use of iPhone's motion and touch controls, but be warned: it's tough
Stuart Dredge
Stuart Dredge
Stuart is a freelance journalist and blogger who's been getting paid to write stuff since 1998. In that time, he's focused on topics ranging from Sega's Dreamcast console to robots. That's what you call versatility. (Or a short attention span.)