It is a universal rule that goats make everything more amazing. Juicy Beast, the developer behind Toto Temple Deluxe clearly subscribes to this rule1. At Gamercamp earlier this year, I hung out with some of the Juicy Beast folks and played a few rounds of their fun and addictive goat-based arena-battle title. Shortly thereafter, they sent me a code so that I could spend more time with the game, checking out all of the different fun features in this crazy battle platformer.
The main mode of Toto Temple Deluxe is a competitive one (Free-for-All), and involves collecting points by grabbing a goat and holding on for dear life. The first player out of four to get to 3,000 points is the winner. In their quest to grab the horned quadruped, each player is able to run, jump, and double jump around the screen, activating power-ups to help them try and secure the goat. Players can also dash, which serves as both a method of rapid locomotion and of attack, since dashing into someone knocks them out for a short time. Once you have the goat, though, it is a whole other story: you lose mobility – namely the ability to dash. Thus, you have to sacrifice something important to get those points, all the while using your wits and reflexes to avoid losing your hairy passenger.
While the round is active, walls move around, blocking the players from taking certain paths (and in some cases, temporarily imprisoning them in a small space). Coins pop up and can be collected for points. These are easier to collect for those who can still dash, since dashing allows players to cover large distances in a moment. These coins can be a boon to anyone that has managed to hold onto the goat for a fairly long time (supplementing an already large goat-powered coin-base is easily done with some of the larger coins). Of course, holding the goat slows you down, so if you are looking to be greedy by collecting coins while holding onto the goat, you will have your work cut out for you since everyone will be trying to knock the goat off of your head. Best to leave sleeping goats lie and finish off your points collection with coins (if your opponents are short).
Free-For-All is not the only mode available for play, though. There is a Team mode which allows you to play in teams, obviously; but things get interesting when you decide to pit two against one – a surefire way to reinforce friendships. Bomb Mode is much more fun, in my opinion, as it is still something of a deathmatch-type. The premise of Bomb Mode is to hold onto the goat for as long as it takes to explode. Any other player caught in the radius will suffer, well, death – and they will become a ghost for the remainder of the round. As the round progresses, the radius of the explosion seems to grow with every subsequent detonation. The winner of the round is the last one standing. All three of these modes are fast, frenetic and crazy-fun.
The visuals for Toto Temple Deluxe are vivid and cartoon-like. The animation is smooth, which is important as choppiness would not work well in a game that moves this quickly. Each level has a unique look and colour scheme, with small touches making each stage special. I really love the different layouts, too – it really shows that Juicy Beast put a lot of work into the game. Regardless of the level palette, the four players never blend into the background – another very important feature. Audio matches the visual action very well, with a soundtrack that has different songs to match each level. These work together to create a nice level of immersion and, frankly, a feeling of urgency in most cases.
Controls are very simple to grasp. Navigating the menus requires that you learn the basics, which is a nice touch. If you’re still a bit shaky, you can always practice against the CPU (up to three CPU players can be selected). It doesn’t really take long to get the hang of the controls, and the friendly competition of the CPUs will hone you into a deadly goat-stealing machine.
Toto Temple Deluxe is hella fun. Whether you play it by yourself with CPU opponents, or you host a local multi-player event in your living room, it will rock your socks. A simple premise coupled with engaging twists in each level makes for a lot of fun. It is one of those games that reminds us all that the OUYA is not only an affordable gaming platform, but also a fun option thanks to a solid lineup of couch-multi-player games.