Second Helping

You know, when I said I’d be back in the event of a sequel during the review for Toree 3D I never for a moment thought it would come out in the same year. Lest you think I’m complaining let me lead with the opinion: Toree 2 slaps. Siactro has done it again, delivering a sequel that simultaneously feels like more of the same and a better version of itself. Where Toree 3D was most akin to an N64 platformer with a focus on precision, Toree 2 feels like a better Sonic game than most Sonic games.

For the squeamish set I wouldn’t let that horror tag dissuade you, because Toree 2 is even less of a horror game than the first entry. With the exception of a single jumpscare in a single level (it’s not a screamer but it will absolutely get you the first time) there’s nothing here that could be described as more than mildly unsettling. It’s honestly more authentic to the 5th gen games that inspired it in that regard, with weird blocky baddies that look just a bit off and textures on environmental pieces that just don’t seem right. Effective to ease into the Halloween spirit, in a nutshell.

Before you even start playing you’ll want to crank the music volume all the way to 100%. The soundtrack is even better this time around. There’s even a vocal track in a level chock full of neon colors and water slides, creating a sublime vibe factory. For a brief moment it felt like I was playing a platformer in the world of Paradise Killer and I was in heaven. Sciatro knows how to pick a jam.

The gameplay is largely unchanged in terms of controls: walk, run, jump, double jump, the end. Where updates have been made is in the levels themselves. Boost rings and gates have been added and are plentiful, sending your bird zooming forward at well beyond your usual top speed. Several levels make good use of these, in particular a spaceship-hopping speedfest that feels like a direct one-up on the prior game’s highway levels. What’s cooler than bouncing from moving vehicle to moving vehicle? Doing it again, but faster, in spaaaaaaaaace.

There’s a new collectable this time around, a hidden CD in each level. Now to earn 100% completion you’ll need to find those, achieve a fast clear in each level for an A-rank, and complete each level with all the stars collected. The latter two work just as well as they did in Toree 3D (which is to say wonderfully), but the CDs are frankly underwhelming. About half of them are in areas that are inaccessible to you unless you bring a particular unlockable character, but are otherwise no challenge to acquire. I would have preferred to see them nooked away in sneaky spots, requiring tests of platforming skill or observation. As it stands it is another objective as opposed to replacing a better one, doesn’t take especially long, and they do earn you a particularly fun unlock in the form of a fourth character, but I am a tad disappointed with the execution.

I mentioned Sonic up top and I think I have a guess as to why this pivot in gamefeel was made: speedrunners. Toree 3D became a bit of a speedrun hit and Toree 2 appears to have leaned into its niche, not by altering the core that players fell in love with, but by tuning the game around its strengths. Levels now have zero forced waiting for things like moving platforms, elevators, what have you. Plenty of sections are skippable with good use of momentum and double jumps. Entire levels dedicated to hauling as much ass as you can carry. Moreso than before this game is about achieving flow and running clean lines, and it’s a change for the better. Platformers with a focus on speed are relatively rare and quality 3D options are especially skint. To get one this good, no matter how short its runtime, is a blessing. You’d be hard pressed to find better entertainment for a single dollar.

An itch.io code was independently purchased for review.