Who else remembers Eversion? Cute little 2D platformer with a few novel concepts, hop’n’bop gameplay, collectables aplenty, jammy tunes and oh no oh god what’s happening oh NO THIS IS A HORROR GAME
I’m not saying Eversion started this trend, it didn’t, but it’s a great example of the vibe Toree 3D is going for: a cute PS1-ish platformer with a bit of spooks and a focus on collecting widgets in order to see everything the game has to offer. Only where Eversion did it in 2D, Toree 3D is…I think you get the picture.
And I do just mean “a bit” with regard to the spooks. This may have been featured on the Haunted PS1 Demo Disc 2021 (and was one of the best demos on there, hence the purchase and review) but horror isn’t its focus or goal. Toree 3D opens with the titular bird’s ice cream being stolen by, uh, Death itself? That’s your motivation, and it sets the tone you can expect from the game on the whole – more spoop than spook. Half the levels don’t even contain anything unsettling or horror-adjacent, and that’s OK! On your first play that lends some tension to the proceedings, never being entirely sure where threats may arise or what they’ll look like. The mountain levels were some of my favorites in this regard, packed with seemingly normal hazards that are revealed to be a bit more than meets the eye.
This means I’m looking at this more as a platformer than a horror game, which in no way hurts my opinion because it’s rock solid. Simple controls – walk, run, jump, double jump – are all it needs to deliver on a good sense of speed and satisfying obstacle courses. The game’s 9 levels offer strong variety and distinct challenges, though that’s not to say this is an especially difficult game. Instead the replayability comes in with speed based ranks and collectable completion awards, both of which yield character unlocks if you’re good enough.
I want to briefly highlight something Toree 3D handles very well – character weight. Most platformers with a double jump suffer from feeling floaty or twitchy, as if the double jump exists to smooth over the control scheme rather than enhance it. That’s not the case here. For a small chick Toree is a pretty weighty character and that works to the game’s benefit. I never once felt uncertain in my jumps or maneuvers, even on ice, thanks to the speed and weight being perfectly tuned. Platformers need to deliver joy in actions as simple as movement and this one does. It’s controls like these that make going back for A-Ranks exciting, which is why I did it.
And I had a great time! Even went back for a third and fourth playthrough after I unlocked everything because the character you get for A-Ranks is just that fun just to blast through levels with. Game price is something I don’t normally mention, but charging a whole dollar for what you get here is ridiculously generous. If there was ever an argument for using Itch.io’s tip feature it’d be games like this.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: it’s a very good sign when my only criticism is wishing a game was longer. I would gladly play a sequel or five of this. Sure it’s short, but when it’s this cheerful and replayable complaining feels like a waste of time. Toree 3D is popcorn entertainment by design, and it’s gourmet popcorn with really fancy salt.
Reviewed on PC via itch.io