Topatoi: Pillar of the Skies Review
by transformer27


Basic Information:
Developer/Publisher: Boolat Games
Euro/Asia Release Date: 4th February 2010
N. American Release Date: 4th March 2010
Price: $7.99 / 4.79 / E5.99
Trophies: Yes


Overview:
Topatoi: The Pillar of the Skies, is the second episode in the Topatoi trilogy of games available for download on PSN. This time around, we once again control the hero from the first game, Raph, and help him traverse through a new mechanical world in search of the evil Darkwing and the girl that he kidnapped. This new add-on, with its addition of seven new story levels, ten new arcade levels and an all-new 'Double Mode' (which is basically offline co-op), is very good value for your hard-earned money.


Our hero, Raph, finds himself in a new world. A world of industry and metal, a complete and total opposite to the world we enjoyed in the first episode of Topatoi. But can this new world hide the games so-so story and frustrating control mechanics a second time round? Lets find out.

Gameplay:
Like the first adventure in the Topatoi series, the controls and gameplay are pretty much identical, no new mechanics here I'm afraid. Unfortunately the new episode of levels feels more like the first game with a new background layer instead of a new, fresh take on a solid puzzle platformer game. I guess, in the end, that the developers wanted the new levels to feel different but still appeal to the fans of the first. But this is where the game fails. The gameplay is below average at best and frustrates the mind more than entertains the soul. The difficulty has increased aswell and some earlier stages of the game can really grind to the point of you destroying a controller against a unexpecting wall.

Players with a more patient disposition will find this game much easier to get along with as you will need a strong will to constantly re-try every level many, many...many times before advancing further. This game is not all bad though, with great graphics and some real challenging puzzles it makes for an enjoyable experience, well, until it starts getting frustrating anyway!


Singleplayer:

Story Mode
The seven new story levels are set in a new mechanical world, with the (very cliched) story carrying on from the first game. You play the game as Raph, a strange creature in control of GEMMA, a spinning-top like contraption used to traverse the terrain found in the game. Once again, the object of this new adventure is to rescue the girl from the evil Darkwing, the villain of the story. Unfortunately, the lack of improvements to the controls or even the storyline, do not help this games plight. The levels are well created with a great visual style produced to the highest quality. For me though, this second game feels inferior to the first, not just with the dodgy gameplay and the bland story, but with the high difficulty and frustrating level design. Its just not as enjoyable to play.

Arcade Mode
With the addition of the new add-on pack Topatoi: Pillars of the Skies, there comes with it, ten new arcade levels to enjoy. These new levels are similar in looks to the original titles arcade levels but play better. This time around they include enemies in your path and crazy new puzzles to solve, but that is not all. These levels can be played in singleplayer, but to get the best from the new 'Double Mode', then really you need a partner as they are all designed for two players aswell. Unfortunately this is only offline co-op, but there is a new addition of an online leaderboard, which is nice!


Multiplayer:
As stated above, the only multiplayer aspect of this new addition to the Topatoi franchise, is the ingeniously named 'Double Mode'. This, in the end is where this add-on shines. You can now enjoy ten new challenging arcade levels, with a friend, or if you have no friends (like me) then you can play them in singleplayer too, but they do not feel as enjoyable on your own. This part of the game is definitely a winner and impresses way more then the story mode does.

Technical:
The game itself feels very clunky, with a poor control system and very annoying and frustrating levels. But, having said this, it is a nice looking game visually and you get plenty to get stuck into for a relatively small price tag. The music is simple but repetitive but is easy to the ears.

The game itself has been well developed with no apparent glitches and a high pixel rate throughout. The game definitely looks better than it plays. But for the price tag, who really cares.


Gameplay: 6.5/10 Tolerable
Slightly worse than its predecessor, with the same clunky controls, poor story and even harder and more frustrating levels.

Singleplayer: 5.5/10 Good
Not as enjoyable as the first and way more frustrating to boot. A little disappointing to say the least.

Multiplayer: 7/10 Good
Best part of the game, if played with a buddy. Okay if alone.

Technical: 7/10 Good
Technically sound, but not without its faults.


Overall: 6.8/10 Good


This game is not bad its just...average. Unfortunately there are no real improvements that have been made to differenciate this episode from the first. The story mode is a lot more frustrating than that of the first. It is still worth the money though, especially if you are a fan of the first game.