Topatoi is a platform/puzzler hybrid in which you play Raph, who is accompanied by a Professor and another, undescribed female compatriot. Their journey fails, sending them crashing down to an unexplored land comprised of a giant tree.
The basic gameplay is based around the Professor’s invention, the ‘Gyroscopic Exploration Multidimensional Multiterrain Apparatus’ or it’s more snappy name GEMMA. It’s effectively a giant spinning top you can ride in. The levels are unfortunately very linear, but in an attempt to add some depth, as the game progresses you gain abilities that fall into three categories.
Other elements are slowly added into the game including a fuel system and numerous puzzle concepts based on your hero’s abilities. The fuel concept adds a lot of depth to the scoring of the game, which is uploaded onto a global leaderboard. This does add a competitive side to the game, especially amongst friends, but that obviously depends on how many of your friends purcahsed the game. Whilst it’s optional to collect all of it, running out of fuel will see you restarting the level from scratch and it also provides you with more points.
Falling, which is one of the few ways to fail a level in this game, will reset you at one of the numerous checkpoints. Unfortunately you’ll get used to this when you find out the controls aren’t as smooth as they could be.
After every super move a small gauge is needed to refill which can also require a bit of temper management as it takes just that little bit too long, stopping you from recovering from that misjudged jump. There’s also some unusual surface recognition that can often result in a undeserved death. The enemies are nothing more than a minor distraction with AI set to barge the most effective defence is avoiding them.
There is also an arcade mode to take on once the story mode is complete, and this is probably the game’s stronger area. The ten challenges on offer here are a test of skill and speed. Requiring patience for some really tricky levels, it feels like this is a game that would have been better off left abstract and faceless.
The split screen mode has the feeling of being a last minute piece of work to fill out the feature set and won’t be played for more than 10 minutes. It includes an air hockey clone and two race levels for example.
I do like the art style, not of the characters, but certainly of their surroundings, and the bright colours look great in high-def, with a nice level of detail, but don’t get me wrong, it certainly isn’t going to blow your mind.
My big problem is with the price. At £6.29, I can think of far better ways to spend that money on PSN. For the quality of the game, the price seems a little steep, when compared with other digital offerings.
There are, to the developers’ credit, some support with added downloads. At the time of writing, on the EU PSN Store, there’s a downloadable pack that changes the look and feel of the menus and arcade mode.
All in all, Topatoi is a mixed bag. Whilst the arcade mode shows some promise, and the way in which the game’s mechanic could have been very interesting, and provides a certain amount of replayability as you strive for better scores the story mode lets the game down, being unfulfilling and a little dull.