Toby: The Secret Mine Review: Outside of Limbo
Greg Johnson / Jan 27th, 2017 No Comments
Toby: The Secret Mine doesn’t hide its inspiration from games like Limbo. Players embark on a strange journey involving shadowy creatures and challenging platforming.
Despite its obvious similarities to previous indie titles, Toby: The Secret Mine carves out its own space in the 2.5D platforming genre with a unique narrative and complex puzzles.
Slighty Bigger Shadows
Players are immediately thrust into a world of shadow people with no preface and only one direction to go. Moving right eventually leads to Toby, the protagonist, standing before a slightly bigger version of himself with glowing red eyes. Toby sees beings like himself locked up in cages and being taken away by shadowy giants.
Toby traverses across a bevy of strange lands, including the titular secret mine, to uncover why him and his ilk are being taken away.
The simple art style and lack of storytelling creates a plot that unfolds at a slow pace. But the game doesn’t suffer due to its slow pacing. Instead, it thrives off it by building mystery and suspense with each tidbit uncovered.
While there is no dialogue, actions speak louder than words in Toby: The Secret Mine. The odd behavior exhibited by the larger shadow beings, specifically the fact that they appear to be afraid of Toby, gives plot clues but also creates questions, such as “Are we really on the right side of this?”
Move Quickly Now
Controlling Toby is very straightforward because of the games simple three-button scheme. You can move, jump and interact with things. Passing levels typically boils down to exhibiting fast reflexes and good timing. It is all easy to get the hang of, but the gameplay is deceptively complex.
That’s because the game also involves some exploration and experimenting.
One puzzle in the game involves reaching a platform that is just out of Toby’s jumping distance. However, if you explore the world, you will find a lever above the platform that allows Toby to access a nearby ledge, thus making the jump surmountable.
This creates a sense of adventure and cunning that gives players a greater sense of satisfaction after completing challenges.
The game owes a lot to Limbo in terms of artistic value, but the beautiful simplicity of Toby is more than just a Limbo clone. The game has a vastly different set of locales. From mines to the tundra, every place you visit in Toby: The Secret Mine feels like an artsy fantasy come to life.
Simple color choices mesh well with Toby and his fellow shadow creatures to add an ominous tone and create a visually appealing game.
Sound is also an important factor in the game, especially because there is no dialogue. The score sets up a light ambiance, while sound effects clue in players to upcoming enemies. This helps create a haunting tone for the game and a sense of tension when danger is imminent. With Toby’s reaction-based gameplay, it is necessary for players to clue in on these sound effects.
Toby: The Secret Mine seems like a copy of games like Limbo and Inside at first glance, but there is more to it beyond its art style. The game offers complex challenges and smart platforming gameplay.
Toby: The Secret Mine was reviewed on Xbox One using a code for the game provided by the publisher.
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