Let’s face it; based on the aesthetic alone, you can see what you’re getting into with Toby: The Secret Mine. Just like the incredibly popular Limbo, Toby: The Secret Mine is a challenging platformer that uses silhouette style visuals as it sends a young boy on an incredibly perilous journey full of puzzles, tricky manoeuvres, and plenty of horrific ways to die. Whilst Limbo did something thoughtful and original for its time though, I can’t help but to see Toby: The Secret Mine as an imitation that doesn’t meet the heights of it’s incredible inspiration. Don’t get me wrong, it’s an enjoyable imitation, but there’s nothing special on offer here that you wouldn’t have seen before.
Much like Limbo, you’re not made aware of any plot in Toby: The Secret Mine. All you know is that you’re playing as small horned person (presumable named Toby) who’s trying to save his friends from larger horned people with red eyes. It’s all very simple but serves its purpose well. You’re never filled in on any details along the way and each of the game’s two endings were a little predictable, but they both gave a satisfying conclusion to the tale that wrap things up nicely.
The main problem with Toby: The Secret Mine is that there’s nothing new on offer here whatsoever, with almost every aspect of the game seemingly borrowed from something else. There are no new gameplay dynamics offered within the platforming with your standard moving platforms, perilous hazards, small puzzles, dangerous projectiles – heck, there’s even a mine cart section… we haven’t seen one of them before, right? Whilst all of these are fun to play through, Toby: The Secret Mine can’t proclaim it has something original that hasn’t been done better by other games. The same goes for its visual style; whilst you could argue that it is only partly inspired by Limbo thanks to the bright colours that are shining through in the background, games like Badland have also done similar things but in a lot more detail.
Despite there being nothing original on show though, Toby: The Secret Mine still manages to be fun. It follows a tried and tested formula that works, with the controls feeling solid and the platforming itself doing enough to keep you engaged. Even some of the puzzles were neat, even if they were few and far between.
It’s worth noting that Toby: The Secret Mine is beatable in under two hours. There are just over twenty levels available in total, though most are finished in a few minutes. There are a few that might keep you perplexed for awhile in regards to how to get past each obstacle that comes your way, but most of the time you’ll get through them with minimal fuss.
The game does have collectibles to give it a little bit of replay value though, but I found it easy enough to find most of them during a single playthrough. In fact, I didn’t really go out of my way to seek them out and still managed to finish the game with only four missing. There’s no incentive given for you to find all of these collectibles either, so it’ll only really interest those die hard completionists who like to 100% every game they play.
Whilst I enjoyed playing through Toby: The Secret Mine, there’s absolutely nothing on offer that I hadn’t seen done before in better releases. It clearly wears its inspirations like a badge of honour, and whilst it might never match them, it does at least offer enough to entertain platforming fans. The lack of originality and the short running time may be off putting for some, but Toby: The Secret Mine might be worth checking out if you see it for the right price.
Developer: Lukas Navratil
Publisher: Headup Games
Release Date: 07/07/2017
Format(s): Playstation 4 (Reviewed), Xbox One, PC, Mac, Linux, Mobile Devices