A light-hearted physics-based platformer, Toyshop Adventures certainly looks like one of the better Android games we’ve seen lately. You assume the role of a helpful toy who is tasked with finding the shop owner’s lost marbles, which have been scattered throughout the store’s dusty shelves. Unfortunately not every product in the shop is as thoughtful, and many will actually try to bar your progress.
Thankfully you can use a special tether to grab objects and make your quest that little bit easier. You can re-arrange boxes to create new platforms or even grab hold of moving toys to get to the other side of the level quickly. It’s here that Glu’s coding talent becomes apparent – each object in the game is imbued with thoroughly convincing physics, and items react just as you would expect them to in the real world.
You can use the realistic physics to grant fast access to hard-to-reach areas. You won’t want to zip through each stage in too much of a hurry, though, because collecting marbles allows you to unlock other elements of the game, such as power-ups.
Sadly, many of the more useful power-up items can only be obtained using Crystals, and these are only given to you when you download other applications in a sub-menu. This process requires you to exit the game and load up the Android Market, an activity which feels jarring and unnecessary.
The reason for this rather awkward system is Android’s lack of support for in-app purchases. The iPhone edition of the game – which launched last year – asked gamers to part with actual money to earn crystals, so it could be argued that Android users have actually received the best of a bad situation.
Still, the concept of having to download other unrelated programs for power-ups in a game strikes us a little exploitative. Although such downloads are entirely at your discretion, it can be argued without them Toyshop Adventures just isn’t as enjoyable.
It’s a shame that Glu has adopted this strategy as we would have gladly paid money for this title if it had been a little better executed and didn’t rely on you having to clog up your phone’s memory with largely useless apps.
Google is lining up in-app payments services in the next few months so we would imagine that Glu next’s ‘freemium’ title will cheekily ask you for cold-hard cash, but to be honest in the case of Toyshop Adventures, neither method realty helps the game. Freemium titles can work if they’re created in the right way, but in this case it’s hard to get over the impression that unless you tow the line, you’re not getting the full experience.