Toyshop Adventures is a fun physics platformer with a freemium twist.
Glu Mobile has decided to make a change in their mobile gaming sales strategy – they’re going free! Well, kind of. The “freemium” angle is always interesting, since in the process of giving you something for free they’re hoping to entice you to lay down some real cash to go above and beyond the base game. Is Toyshop Adventures such a game?
Toyshop Adventures leads the charge for Glu’s new freemium plan. What that really means for us consumers is that we get the game for free, but are teased with some content held behind the virtual counter for us to buy. But the game needs to be worth investing money in after playing in order for them to make any money, and that’s something that’s going to depend heavily on what you get out of the game.
Toyshop Adventures is a side-scrolling 3D puzzle platformer where you play a cute little toy jumping around the shelves of a toy store trying to find and collect missing marbles. It’s trite, but it gives you enough of a reason to play through the levels. Getting to the end of the level rarely means you’ve found them all so there’s a reason to re-play and explore.
You’ll control left and right movement as well as jumping up and over obstacles while collecting the aforementioned marbles. You’ll also be able to tether and move items in the world in order to reach your goals. For a simple and seemingly unassuming game, there’s definitely a ton of physics going on here. Boxes and rubber balls move and bounce like they’re supposed to. All the toys you’ll run into feel like they have weight and really exist in the world, and everything reacts realistically when interacted with. It’s all quite impressive and really does add a lot to the game.
The graphics are incredibly sharp and are fully rendered in 3D but play on a 2D plane, so you get to enjoy the quality of the look without getting tied up in a game trying to operate on 3 planes. As a nice Easter egg, all the toys and packages on the shelves in the game make call-backs to previous Glu games, so if you’re a fan, you’ll get to see some old favorites like Cops & Robbers or Super KO Boxing. You’ll even get to play as a few as characters like KO Kid or Eryn from Glyder.
So now the big question since this is a “freemium” game… what do you get for free and what will you have to pay for? The base game includes 10 levels in the first episode, but if you want more you’ll have to purchase additional episodes. The other more unnerving limit is in the powerup department. While you can find them in-game, you’re also able to purchase them with real world money. The economics of this plan are certainly sound. After all, it’s hard to make a living if you just give away the store for free. However with only ten levels included I couldn’t help but think of this as more of a glorified “lite” version of a full game that’s locked away behind a cash register.
I enjoyed the game during the levels provided, but at the end of those levels I didn’t feel like the need to buy more and keep playing right away like I have with other freemium offerings (like Piczle Lines). That being said, I did enjoy it enough that I wouldn’t rule out the purchase of additional levels down the road. It may feel a little limited, but with the no-risk entry point of free, we’d definitely be inclined to say that Toyshop Adventures is a physics platformer that’s well worth a look.