Indie Game Review – Tommy Tronic – Don’t Call It A Mario Clone
|Game Name:||Tommy Tronic|
|Genre(s):||2D Platformer, Adventure|
Tommy Tronic: the superlative execution of an extremely difficult trick – a game for all ages! Whether young or old, Tommy Tronic will engage you and keep you curious as to just what will be around the next corner! Set in a sprawling, haunted woodland, the player is taken across 12 levels of child-like imagination and mayhem.
What We Think
Tommy Tronic is every little boy’s imaginary adventure come true. The game takes a wee lad with a giant noggin, arms him with brightly-hued plastic weapons (each complete with the bright orange safety muzzle) and sends him on a daunting quest through an enchanted forest, full of nasty veggies, bugs and a large assortment of other creepers.
Sunshine, Lollipops and…Rainbows Everywhere. War is Hell…
The visuals are bright, colourful and sharp. Each level is a puzzle, crafted in such a way to prevent you from accessing the subspace vortex that will transport you to the next stage, and one step closer to your lovable canine companion, Yapz. Floating platforms, piranha-infested swimming holes, and transport devices will all have to be successfully navigated to reach the end of each stage.
Be cautious not to use keys as soon as you find a door it will work with. I found myself restarting a couple of stages when I ran into more doors than keys, and regretting opening the door that led to a toy chest. It may well be that the programmers were trying to frame a moral warning against instant gratification. In any case, it took a good hour of combing the stage end-to-end to verify that I was, in fact, boned.
Animal, Mineral, or Vegetable? Yes.
Tommy has his hands full when it comes to enemies. Each stage has a healthy variety of evil creatures coming his way, and new ones are frequently introduced. Genetically modified vegetables will tear at you along the ground, and mutant insects will attack speedily from above. You run into apes, robots and witch doctors (oh my!) on your trek. Storm into a stage too quickly, and you may find yourself being attacked from all fronts at once. If you have a Free Kill (I think that’s what he says…) token on hand, let ‘er rip! If not, best of luck to you, and happy hopping!
Just when you think you’re in the clear, you get to tangle with the school bully. He totes a nasty slingshot, and is proficient at lobbing cherry bombs. Mini-bosses can put a quick (and often fiery) end to anyone not quick on his toes.
Plumber Go Home
The developers caution that this is not a Mario clone, and I concur. Though the hop-on-pop koopa-stomp tactic is present (and effective), you also have your trusty ping-pong ball shooter to take foes out from a distance. Still, if you treat this game like a run-and-gun, you’ll find yourself frequently starting stages over again. Finding new weapons is always enjoyable, but map out the levels before going on a shooting spree. You never know what kind of beast you’re going to encounter at the end of the stage, and baddies tend to drop faster if you have a few rockets to launch!
Keep an eye out for bonuses, such as health boosts (Mmm…vitamins!), invisibility tokens, monster magnets and snorkels, keeping in mind that you’ll have to save room in your pack for the various keys the level may require. Oh, and getting a giant gnome pass-out drunk so you can bounce on his distended stomach? Brilliant!
Tommy Tronic manages to stand out from other titles in this flooded genre by sticking to its child-like, yet sophisticated presentation scheme. I felt as though I had entered into the imagination of a 5-year-old boy swinging a cardboard tube at hoards of imaginary monsters. While some treasure chests are loaded with gems, the GOOD treasure chests have toy trains, skateboards, and handheld game consoles! Though there are plenty of healthy snacks to be found in your travels, beating a string of enemies will result in a benevolent smiley face appearing in the sky to reward Tommy with the kind of sweets you just can’t find in school vending machines anymore.
The creature designs are both adorable and terrifying. After all, what kid wouldn’t prefer to annihilate his vegetables rather than eat them? All of the enemies sport some impressive AI, and the animations throughout are wonderfully fluid. The sound design is also fantastic, and the voice tracks captured for Tommy are downright adorable. I’d be shocked if the recordings were done by anyone over the age of five. On paper, that may sound like a gamble (read some of my past reviews…I view bad voice work as a kick to my junk), but the end results here are utterly charming.
Something Old, Something New
There are twelve levels to play through, and various difficulty settings. Tommy Tronic may be sugary sweet on the surface, but challenging enough to cause even the most seasoned of 2D platform game players to slow down and think out their next move. Some minor glitches in controls exist, but nothing that detracts too seriously from the overall experience. Though it doesn’t redesign the wheel, Tommy Tronic succeeds in creating a highly enjoyable romp through a sunny saccharine playland.