Tobe’s Vertical Adventure is a classic platformer with a retro 16 bit look where you can play as either Tobe himself or his friend (maybe girlfriend) Nana. If you have a friend, you can play as both in co-op. In Tobe’s Vertical Adventure, Nana has found a treasure map. She decides that Tobe should stop playing video games and go on a really wild adventure, so she drags him off to go find some treasure.
In your search for the treasure you travel to 4 worlds each having only 4 levels. You enter each cave by being lowered down by balloons and there is treasure scattered throughout the level as well as a treasure chest at the bottom of the level; this is your goal. As you make your way down you will run into enemies and traps that will change depending on what world you are in. There are also innocent animals to save along the way, which will help to increase your health if you save all five.
You will also find ropes and balloons as you descend, which you can use to help you get all the treasures and cute animals or to help you get back out. Every level is laid out vertically, so when you run off the one side of the screen you will appear on the other. Along your way down you will run into enemies that just pass back and forth, along with ones that charge at you; as well as moving pillars, falling icicles, and lava.
Once you reach the treasure at the bottom and open it, the level will start to shake and fall apart. This signifies that you have a limited amount of time to get back out. Depending on your timing when you open the last treasure chest you can get up to 15 seconds added on to the timer. However, because the level has fallen apart it’s not as simple as going back the way you came. Walls you might have jumped off of or landings you might have run across are now gone and you have to find a new way back out. Also, sometimes a new path will open up and you can then save a cute innocent animal that you couldn’t get to before.
Tobe’s Vertical Adventure’s game play style and graphics took me back to the old classic games like Mario. Also, the game sounds very much like Sonic; when you are collecting treasure it sounds like you are collecting rings. Even with taking parts of classic winning games and having an old school kind of vibe; I feel Tobe’s Vertical Adventure falls a little short. The controls seemed at first to be a little too complex for the keyboard, but as you get used to them, it gets easier. That is if your keyboard will actually work with this game.
I normally use a Razer keyboard to play, but was unable to perform certain button combinations with it in this game – such as long jumping or rolling. That is because the Razer Lycosa does not have full anti-ghosting, so some three button combinations will not work. Luckily enough, I did have another keyboard that I was able to play on. However, I still did have problems with the combinations when it came to the co-op mode – even when using my other keyboard. Gamers would do well to stick with a PC controller for this game, provided that they have access to one.
If you have a PC controller go ahead and get this game; but if you only have a keyboard, you might want to think twice about it. The reasoning, as already mentioned, is because the keyboard controls are sometimes hard to use. Even with being able to reconfigure the controls, I was never able to find a truly comfortable layout that was still easy to use. The keyboard aggravations, combined with the fact that you have to have absolutely perfect timing when trying to grab onto ropes, lead to several cheap deaths when I fell onto spikes because it caused me to miss my opportunity to grab the necessary vine.
Ultimately, I found this game to be a bit bland. Perhaps for a younger gamer it would be more enjoyable, but for me there just wasn’t much there in terms of variety. At the same time, you do need to weigh its negatives against the very affordable $4.99 price tag. For the price you do get a decent return – a fun game that will keep you busy for a little bit. Don’t expect the five dollars to stretch far past that, though.