Headup Games has released Toby: The Secret Mine for the PS4 after earlier releases for PC, Xbox and the Wii U. An homage to games like Limbo, should Playstation owners be excited? We think so.
They say imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, and in that sense Limbo’s developers will certainly be happy with Toby: The Secret Mine. From the art style right down to the gameplay dynamics, the inspiration for this game is easy to see. Obviously, there are far worse choices when it comes to a source for inspiration, and it’s well chosen. The team that was developing this for Headup is relatively small, and the black and white art style where color is sparsely used works really well when you want to craft something beautiful without the resources to painstakingly paint every little character, item and backdrop on screen.
In Toby: The Secret Mine, you play the part of Toby as you try to free your fellow villagers who have been kidnapped from their home in the mountains. There’s little hope for success, because others who have tried this never returned from their quest. This doesn’t deter Toby though, as he heads into a dark forest to try and free them.
Although this backdrop sets up the game as a narrative experience, the actual gameplay is very much like Limbo in that every level is a puzzle and platforming-oriented affair rather than a clearly laid out storytelling experience. Puzzles are generally well designed, but often lack the refined quality of those in Limbo (or Inside) – with death sometimes coming from seemingly random interactions with the environment.
Like Limbo, this is a relatively short game as well – but it has a price point to match. If you’re familiar with this genre already then you’ll likely get through the game in under two hours, with random deaths rather than puzzles usually being your main source of frustration. Since these events generally only catch you by surprise once, the frustration is short-lived and you’re quickly on your way again after the restart.
If you’re a fan of Limbo and Inside, then you shouldn’t hesitate and grab Toby: The Secret Mine. It might not be of the same high quality as those two games, but it’s a solid puzzle platformer with a familiar art style that won’t disappoint gamers with a fondness for the source material that inspired it.