Topatoi: The Great Tree Story Review
by transformer27

Basic Information:
Developer/Publisher: Boolat Games
European Release Date: July 2nd 2009
Asian Release Date: Aug 25th 2009
AU Release Date: Aug 27th 2009
N. American Release Date: Oct 15th 2009
Price: 6.29/$4.99
Trophies: Yes: 4 2 2
Topatoi Trophy Guide / Topatoi Forums

Topatoi: spinning through the worlds is a nice little platform puzzle game developed by a small team from the Ukraine Called Boolat Games. This is there first attempt at a console game and is the first part in a trilogy of games.

You play as Raph, a strange looking creature who controls a spinning top-like contraption called a Gyroscopic Exploration Multidimensional Multiterrain Apparatus or GEMMA for short. Raph finds himself in a strange land (Set around the edge of a big tree) after crash landing. He is accompanied by a professor and a female charcter who subsequently gets herself kidnapped by the local villain Darkwing. It's up to you to find the girl and save the day, the clock is ticking!

When I first loaded this title up, the first impressions I got were of a child friendly, easy but probably fun game. Although it is obviously aimed and the younger generation, some of the puzzles through the game are not that easy to figure out at first. For the whole game you are in control of the GEMMA machine which sometimes can frustrate due to the poor handling and some dodgy camera angles. It is fun though, and I think the mix of platforming and puzzles will keep the player interested long enough to complete the game.

Here we see one of the local 'bad guys', to kill him simply knock him from
the ledge, before he does the same to you.

There are no weapons in the game but you do have the GEMMA which you can use to bump your enemies off the platform, like bumper cars, fun right? You also have three kenetic powers you unlock through the game, Double jump, Push and Pull. These powers will help you traverse the puzzle ridden levels alot easier and adds more depth to an otherwise empty game.

There is no Multiplayer option in this game so the Singleplayer aspect is all that is on offer. There are just two game types available to play, both very different to each other in looks and gameplay. These are Story Mode and Arcade Mode.

Story Mode
The main story consists of just 7, pretty short levels. Although they are small in size they will take a while to complete due to the puzzles scattered across each level. The difficulty of the game does increase a little as you play, but will still seem reletively easy to complete. The game can also get a little frustrating especially if you time a jump incorrectly and have to start again from an earlier checkpoint, and falling from the platform encircling the tree is the only way too fail/die in the game and will unfortunately deduct a significant amount of time from your clock. Which brings me to the fact that this game is a time challenge as well as a puzzle game. Which means you really don't want to run out of time as you will have to start the level again, which can get a tad annoying. Although in my playthrough I only ran out of time once.

The 7 levels are way too similar to each other and make the game feel very repetitive and gets unbelievably dull, fast. Even the puzzles don't make the game more enjoyable and sometimes are just downright annoying. This along with a very poor, bland storyline it all adds up to a dissapointing mode. But its not all bad, if you can look past all the obvious faults and just play the game, it can be quite a lot of fun.

One of the 10 'Arcade Mode' levels, where the main objective is to collect all
the glowing cubes while finishing a course in an alotted time frame.

Aracde Mode
The Arcade Mode is completely different to the Story levels. The design of these 'bonus' levels are simple, and plain. But as the challenge is a little higher in difficulty, can actually be more fun than the Story Mode. The aim of these levels is too collect the cubes. There are varied amounts of these scubes scattered all over the 10 Arcade levels, and again the timer comes into play.

These levels are all about getting from point A to point B in a certain amount of time by completing a 'course' of platforms and elevators. Each level gets harder and more challenging as you go along, but again, the dull gameplay makes the game drag and gets old quick.

The graphics in this game, although nowhere near the quality of an average PS3 title, is one of the nicer looking PSN games, but it's not without it's glitches. Several times while I was playing the frame rate seemed to drop and some of the controls can make the game feel really clunky. But lucky most of the levels have been created to a high enough standard to make the game better to look at and more enjoyable to play.

The worst part of the game by far is the machine you control. GEMMA is way too clunky for my liking and will put alot of people off paying for the next episode in the trilogy.

Using the 'GEMMA' can be frustrating at times, but master it and the levels
will be a breeze.

The game can easily be played with the TV set to mute as the music is pretty poor. With only 17 levels to the whole game, it will be over very fast (7 hours playtime, max) with no real re-playability to talk off due to a lack of Multiplayer Modes.

Gameplay: 6.5/10 Tolerable
Clunky controls, plotless story and repetitive level designs dent an otherwise great game.

Singleplayer: 7/10 Good
The two modes on offer are fun, if not a little frustrating but the overall package is worth the price tag.

Technical: 7.5/10 Good
There are a few major hiccups in this game, but apart from that, its a nice, well designed game.

Overall: 7/10 Good

Topatoi is a fun, yet frustrating game and is very short and simple, but, it is still well worth the cheap price tag and with 8 easy trophies on offer, you'd be a fool not to try it.