The core objective of getting an object from Point A to Point B is still present and accounted for, but with the inclusion of three dimensions, puzzles are far more interesting than their 2D counterparts. Humorous and cute, Save Toshi is a fun puzzle game that can actually be quite challenging. In fact, about the only complaint is that Toshi might come off as a bit annoying to some.
So who is Toshi? Well, Toshi-San is a Japanese popstar who wants to dance, and the only way to do so is to reach the dance floor. There’s just one… minor problem. She forgot how to walk and has a knack for finding herself on bizarrely constructed towers of unsteady blocks, floating atop a giant pool of water.
Built of different materials with their own characteristics, each block can be shot at, with a tap, and will yield different results. Such blocks include stone, metal, ice, wood, and so on. Stone can be moved, but will not break; metal seems to be a bit lighter than stone, but is slippery; ice is about the same as metal, but extra slippery; and wood splinters and breaks. It’s all fairly standard stuff (get Toshi from A to B without her falling in the water), but as the game progresses, the 3D aspect of Save Toshi becomes much more apparent, forcing users to view everything from all angles.
The game brings more than just static elements too. As levels become more complex, players will have to make use of spinning objects, rolling balls, momentum, and makeshift ramps to get Toshi to her dance floor. In later cases, it feels reminiscent of a Rube Goldberg machine. Furthermore, to add to the challenge, each level has a star rating of up to three “plus” (three stars and a plus sign), which is determined by how few shots they used to complete the puzzle.
Don’t worry if it’s too hard either, as the game does allow the user to see hints at the cost of these stars. They’re not full out directions like some puzzle games either. Rather, the hints just point to what should be shot at the time.
Save Toshi has a good bit of humor to be had as well. While that might seem an odd addition to a physics puzzle game, Toshi-San is quite the chatty diva. Throughout the game, she teases the player about their speed, makes comments on her predicament, and even makes jokes when she falls in the water. As an added bonus, whenever she gets a bit too mouthy, players can shoot her as well. Yes, that fails the puzzle, but sometimes she needs to be put in her place. Additionally, once she reaches the dance floor, there’s a small visual reward of her dancing to some upbeat music.
As far as complaints goes, the only element that could be considered one is Toshi herself. While the commentary she makes is amusing at first, we could see how some might find it annoying after a while with no noticeable way to turn it off in-game (of course, you could just mute your iDevice). Even so, this is an extremely minor issue, at worst, as the quirky character is what adds charm and flavor to the game as a whole.
It is also worth noting, that the game comes with very minor social elements as well with integration to OpenFeint. This isn’t anything tremendous, but consists of standards such as leaderboards.
Overall, Save Toshi is a type of puzzle game that is much more uncommon. Both humorous and stylized, it’s 3D puzzles create a much different flavor from the norm. Easy to learn yet still challenging, it’s a game that’s a good bit of fun and ought to prove enjoyable for any fans of the puzzle genre. In fact, at $1.99 for both the iPhone and the iPad, it’s a game that comes recommended to just about anyone; unless, of course, you have something against Japanese popstars.