The resurgence of 3D platformers has been a delightful sprinkle of fun in modern gaming. Titles like Yooka Laylee and A Hat in Time lead the charge, and now we’re getting some more experimental entries, like this year’s Tinykin, that manage to combine the charm of Nintendo platformers like Super Mario with some Pikmin-esque collection mechanics. Well, here comes the new kid on the block Togges, a very interesting spin on the whole genre.
Controlling a sentient Roomba of sorts, Togges tasks you with exploring large 3D environments and gathering fruits and collectables, but there’s a fun catch. As you explore you lay a series of blocks underneath and behind you like some sort of snail, but you can only lay a block next to an existing one. Reaching certain platforms will demand you climb up on a stack of blocks, so the puzzle here is just how you chain your blocks from the start to your goal.
Importantly for a 3D platformer, it feels good to explore here. Your little Roomba can just about pull off a jump, but it’s all about guiding and chaining your blocks to reach new areas. This is done in a loose and often haphazard way, but it never gets in the way of solving puzzles. You can also pull off a fun little stomp that knocks the blocks beneath you on either side, which opens up some fun ways to solve puzzles as you attempt to get your chain of blocks to reach the next area.
With 1,000 blocks at the start of each level, you leave behind a huge trail, and it’s fun to look back at your path as you explore even further. These blocks also run out quicker than you might think, so it’s absolutely about resource management as well as platforming. On top of this, while you start with red blocks, you’ll quickly unlock more colours like the yellow blocks that conduct electricity or the black blocks that can be placed on spikes.
While it seems simple at first, Togges constantly surprises me with moments where a puzzle finally clicks into place, and the slow creep of new blocks and new hazards mean there’s always something fun to do. However, I do wish that it felt a little more precise, as both platforming and arranging your blocks can occasionally feel like a battle against the controls or the hazards like water or spinning platforms. It should all work in theory, but it feels like the actual mechanics could have done with some fine-tuning, as occasionally things that should work, just don’t.
I think Togges could be a great game for younger players, as the ease of just gliding around and spreading your blocks is really satisfying, and the main goals themselves are fairly easy to master. Kids might struggle with how finicky some goals are, but objectives like piling up enough blocks to break a box or fruit hidden away are easy enough to solve. There’s also a handy hint option tucked away in the pause menu. Luckily for more eager players, there are also collectables and hidden levels that demand a bit more thought to find. It’s a great balance, and a lot of different gamers will find something to love here.
There’s surprisingly quite a lot of writing here, and it didn’t all work for me. There are some fun characters and a few funny jokes tucked away, but the huge amount of dialogue is often a bit of a distraction, despite some charming characters and a whimsical (if slightly nonsensical) story tying it all together. I could do with a lot less dialogue, as I often just want to just get back to exploring and platforming.
The actual levels you explore range from planetoid grassy areas reminiscent of Super Mario Galaxy, to lava-filled castles with swinging scythes, and even a gigantic library. The presentation gives everything a smooth and bright finish, with lots of adorable characters you bump into, and each area is given a jolly and picturesque feel that makes them a joy to explore. The game is charming from start to finish and the graphical style is a large part of this. Your character might not be the most interesting to look at or control, but there’s a lot of love about each level as you poke around and lay your little blocks in hopes of advancing.
I’m impressed with the music on offer here, with a lot of very jovial and lively tracks helping to carry the whimsy of the game, and it ended up being one of my highlights. I just wish I could say the same about the visuals and performance, as it’s obvious the game has been compressed to high heaven to fit onto Switch. The demand of these levels and literally hundreds of blocks is clearly a high one, and while Togges does a commendable job of fitting it all in, the visuals in handheld take a major dive, with clear visual concessions and some really distracting slowdown and muddy compression.
I don’t think Togges is going to blow anyone away, but it’s a charming and ultimately surprising twist on the platforming genre that more than justifies its existence. The block-placing platforming is constantly stretched into new ideas, and most of the fun comes from wandering around the large levels and finding the secrets tucked away. Loose controls, superfluous dialogue, and a few visual concessions mar the experience, but I think any patient younger gamers looking for something different will have a blast.
Togges Switch review
A fun twist on the platforming genre, Togges does a lot with a little and presents a charming world full of secrets to explore, and a satisfying gameplay loop at its core. While improvements to controls and visuals would be nice, there’s still a lot to love here for fans of classic titles like Pikmin or Super Mario.