Tobe’s Vertical Adventure – An Indie Game Review

Developer Summary:

Tobe’s Vertical Adventure is an indie, retro, platformer starring Tobe, the overly devoted gamer who’s been forced on a treasure hunt by his materialistic crush, Nana. The big headed duo will travel back and forth in the crumbling caves in search of treasures while rescuing fluffy animals, making you scream kawaii ne~ along the way. With 2 unique characters and a total of 4 islands and 16 levels to explore, Tobe’s Vertical Adventure shall bring you back to the 16-bit era.

What We Think:

If you feel like the last really fun video game was Kid Icarus, have I got a title for you: Tobe’s Vertical Adventure, by Secret Base, an independent developer based out of Singapore. And when these guys go retro, they go retro.

Tobe is an Xbox Live Indie Games native ported to PC, apparently born from the goal of making a game that could have come straight out of the early 1990s. Tobe’s graphics are 16-bit, and would have been right at home in an old Genesis or SNES game. Even the sound and music is what one might call Megaman-esque. Plug a controller into your computer and you could easily mistake Tobe for a console ROM.

tobes vertical adventure screenshot 1

You may want to plug a controller in anyway. Tobe’s console origins are plain in the relative difficulty associated with keyboard controls. Even the menus are not terribly easy to get around without a controller, as there is no mouse support. Also, the game uses more movement abilities than the conventional “run, jump, or both” set. On a keyboard it was a little too awkward; it was better with a controller, but still a little busy for my tastes.

A controller is definitely recommended for the game’s co-op mode, which features Tobe and his girlfriend Nana, both with specific abilities and special co-op moves. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to try out the co-op mode, and I’m not entirely sure that the level design lends itself to it, but I applaud Secret Base for including it. Co-op is very much in line with the feel of the game, and adds a lot to the content.

In fact, content is one of the areas where Tobe really excels. There’s a lot here for enthusiasts of the game. Players can go through the levels with either Tobe, Nana, or cooperatively as both with a friend. Each level also has several different collectibles, which will appeal to completionists. Viewed from afar, the levels do suffer from repetitiveness, but that may be more a function of the genre than of this game in particular.

tobes vertical adventure screenshot 2

Tobe’s Vertical Adventure can currently be had for the modest price of $4.99 on Steam. It’s easily worth that if you’re a fan of old-school platformers. There is plenty of content and adequate difficulty to keep you busy for awhile. Tobe doesn’t offer much for the casual gamer, however, so you might want to take advantage of the demo unless you’re a dedicated fan of the genre.

Tobe’s Vertical Adventure on Steam

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

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