Back in January, Save Toshi was one of the very few 3D physics puzzle apps on either the iPhone or iPad devices. While the genre has expanded, with games like A Monster Ate My Homework, Toshi is not so easily forgotten. As such, iOS developer Nitako has released the sequel to there bizarre title, Popstar Physics (Save Toshi 2) for both iOS devices.
Similar to the original, Popstar Physics changes up the concept by asking users to slay characters on a level instead of saving them. Functionally the same as its predecessor, the new game (released May 31st) has all of the quirkiness that made the original title popular. But it also comes with a bit more challenge in its puzzles. That said, the game does have a hint system built in, and even penalizes users score-wise for utilizing it. Unfortunately, it does not seem to work properly.
For those that never tried the first game, Toshi is a Japanese popstar whose sole desire in life is to dance. In the original Save Toshi title, players had to toss balls at objects in a three dimensional space (rotating around it as needed) in order to get her from Point A to Point B using physics. That concept is still present, except that Toshi has been kidnapped by demons and cloned into an army of zombies. Now, users must use the same mechanics to knock environmental objects onto these Toshi clones in order to kill them and release the soul of Toshi, which is apparently trapped in Hell.
Like the original, environmental objects are made up of a variety of different materials such as wood, stone, ice, metal, rubber, and so on. Each one comes with its own set of attributes — e.g. wood breaks, rubber makes things bounce, and ice slides easily — thus users must strategically strike them in order to either crush or knock off each zombie in the level.
Each puzzle comes with a limited number of shots, and while it might seem like an easy task, the levels become increasingly more complex. Designs will occasionally consist of multiple towers, ramps, and explosives, unlike an earlier, simpler title we reviewed called A Monster Ate My Homework. In fact, some levels are complex enough to require users to break objects (like wood) in order to create a path for an object (such as a metal ball) to follow, hitting all zombies, in a moderately Rube Goldberg fashion.
While not all are equally complicated, many levels focus more on preparation and setting up the kills. In this regard, Save Toshi 2 is actually much more challenging than the original game, as there are more targets, and will likely start stumping players early on.
Like most puzzle games nowadays, Nitako’s new game has a hint system for each level. In order to measure a player’s skill level, each level completion is rated via a star system ranking users from zero to three or three and a plus sign. The penalty for using hints is supposed to be a reduction in stars, but it never really seemed to work. Even when hints were used, we still managed to earn three stars on many levels. Moreover, if players still can’t figure out a puzzle, they can always skip to the next one.
Assuming this did work properly, Nitako does grant users a means to earn free hints by posting on Twitter, which is a rather intelligent way to help make the game more known. To further the title’s initial market penetration, the company has also made Popstar Physics free-to-play for a limited time. Unfortunately, the game only has 20 puzzles, but hopefully more will be added once the title becomes a paid app.
Overall, Popstar Physics is a fun and amusing title that offers a slightly different challenge from the original. As a 3D physics game, it provides a very different experience from the slew of 2D titles currently available. Though it is short, the Nitako sequel is both stylish and amusing.