We’ve come to a point in puzzle-based video games where the greatest challenge is inventing a mechanic unique to the genre. Toodee and Topdee create its unique puzzles from the blending of two types of navigation: 2D platforming and isometric walking. Neither mechanic in itself is unique, they’ve been around since the beginning of games, but having characters from each method of movement tag in and out to get through 90 different levels definitely feels fresh and is a whole lot of fun.
Toodee and Topdee begins with a quick rundown of how our two protagonists end up requiring the help of one another. Each character lives in a separate world that revolves around a semicolon, that is until the villain steals the universe anchor and plunges the world into chaos. In order to retrieve the stolen semicolon and bring order back to their worlds, Toodee and Topdee work together to traverse the chaos and find the missing punctuation mark.
The former moves through the level in traditional 2D platforming, while the latter walks throughout the level in an overhead isometric fashion. Topdee can pick up blocks and move them around in order to create platforms for Toodee to make it to the portal to exit the level. Each of the 5 different worlds all have a separate theme, whether it be animal avoidance or manipulating elements like fire and water. The first 4 worlds have twenty levels with the final having 10 with a very unique twist.
Mechanics are very easy to pick up and the difficulty of the puzzles increase at a steady pace. It wasn’t until the fourth world where I had to set down the controller and really put some hard thought into how to make it out of the level. The last final worlds are particularly difficult and are great mental exercises for those who love a challenge. Speaking of challenges, each world ends with a boss that is pretty difficult in their own right. Beating the boss is less about figuring out a puzzle and more about timing the platforming and switching between the characters at the right moment. None feel impossible to beat, but they definitely require a few tries in order to really get the timing right for victory.
If the threat of intense challenge feels too stressful, Toodee and Topdee has some of the best accessibility I’ve seen in a puzzle-based game. Different toggles allow for the difficulty to be lowered in different ways. Allowing Toodee to perform double jumps can get you out of a jam, or if you can’t get the timing down, just turn on infinite health. Everyone will have an opportunity to finish the game on their own terms.
In my particular playthrough it took a little under 5 hours to complete a single run of the game, but some in-game challenges do provide incentive to give it another go. Between the seamless mechanics, delightful graphics, and enjoyable humour in the writing, Toodee and Topdee is a whole lot of fun for folks of all ages.
Score: 7.5 / 10
- Colourful and vibrant world
- Seamless blend of platforming and isometric mechanics
- Accessibility options are terrific
- Worlds can feel a bit long near the end
- Achievements made clear early on