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Review #044: Toast Time: Smash Up! (Nintendo Switch)

Reviewed By: John B.

Developed By: Force of Habit Published By: Force of Habit Category: Arcade, Action, Multiplayer Release Date: 11.16.18

Download Toast Time: Smash Up! from the Nintendo eShop here.

Time to be a toaster and protect some alarm clocks. Hey, it makes as much sense as anything in a Mario game. Toast Time: Smash Up! is the first Switch release for developer Force of Habit. It’s basically the original Toast Time with the addition of a multiplayer brawl mode. It doesn’t have the deepest gameplay, but the quick pace of the game creates more than enough challenge.

The Toaster With The Most… er

Players take the role of TERRY (Toast-Ejecting Recoil & Reload sYstem). TERRY is a toaster who shoots toast at monsters marching towards his alarm clock. Firing toast launches TERRY in the opposite direction of his projectile, sending him careening around the level. This makes aiming pretty dang hard; and if that wasn’t challenging enough, the farther away you are, the harder it is to hit an enemy. You can deploy an anchor to remain stationary for a short time, which helps with aiming quite a bit, but many levels have baddies coming from behind all kinds of obstacles. This means you really can’t afford to stay in one place for too long. A level ends when the timer goes off, killing all of the enemies on the screen. If a monster gets to the clock before the time is up, that’s a game over.

Loot in Crates

During fights, crates will drop from the sky. Shooting them will offer TERRY a variety of bread-based projectile power-ups. The game keeps track of how many crates you’ve shot, and every so often you will be rewarded with a new power-up item. Only crates destroyed in cleared levels count towards this total, so if you needed another reason to avoid a game over, there it is. Clearing certain levels or meeting other requirements will also unlock new cosmetic items for TERRY to wear.

Your Friends Are Toast

The new element of Toast Time: Smash Up! is the multiplayer component. You and up to three friends can play couch co-op in a free-for-all brawl. The rules are basically the same as the single-player campaign; shooting and anchoring are the basis of the gameplay. You can choose whether or not you want a time limit, as well as a few more options. You can set a weapons lineup, the frequency of crate drops, and chests that unlock special abilities like shields and slow-motion. The brawls are frantic and fun; multiplayer is really the highlight of the game.

Toasted to Perfection

The retro look is one that always appeals to me. TERRY and company look like they’d fit right in on an Atari 2600. The backgrounds are pretty detailed for what they are. The foregrounds are all white pixel creations; ledges, alarm clocks, and monsters are all monochromatic. This can create a bit of a problem while playing; if there are too many monsters crammed into one area, it can be hard to tell them apart. I often found myself firing a bunch of shots into a blob of white and changing position, only to find I hadn’t fired enough and now I wasn’t in position to hit the remaining enemies. The music is zippy and likewise retro-inspired; again, it was very reminiscent of an old Atari game more than anything.

Toast Time: Should You Pony Up?

The single-player experience is frantic and sometimes frustrating. I mentioned the problem with the monochrome enemies before, but the fundamental gameplay has its share of snags, too. Positioning yourself is often an unforgiving chore; if you miscalculate your trajectory even a little, you can often find yourself stuck in a corner while monsters march on your alarm clock uncontested. I often found myself frustrated with levels for this reason, and it severely impacted my enjoyment of the single-player portion of the game.

Multiplayer, on the other hand, is always a blast. It has all of the fact-paced action but none of the frustrating elements of the level design. The levels tend to be open enough to move around freely, but with enough platforms and walls to use strategically for hiding and blocking shots. The random elements introduced by the ability chests and weapon crate drops increases the fun and adds balance to the game experience. I don’t know if I’ll finish the single-player missions, but any time a friend is over I’ll make them play a few rounds with me.

Final Score: 7/10

Download Toast Time: Smash Up! from the Nintendo eShop here.

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*Review Code Provided By Force of Habit

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