Toodee and Topdee is one of those rare games that not only push the boundary of the 2D Hemisphere, but also pushes the conventions of how we view games from a technical perspective. Created by indie developer Dietzribi, as an early game jam submission to Ludum Dare 41 in 2018, Toodee and Topdee is finally out on Steam after its initial pilot debut! I reviewed the demo last year and gave it a perfect score. Now with its full release on Steam after three years of development, Toodee and Topdee is finally out! How does it compare to the expectations the free version set? The verdict is… it exceeds the free demo and leaps right past it!
Toodee and Topdee manages to do two things a lot of games do not these days; being unique and being good.
The story of Toodee and Topdee is one of spacial distortions and silliness. Aleph, the creator of the universe, was busy making the top-down and side scrolling perspectives. His assistant, TooDoo, who is responsible for keeping track of what Aleph to do lest he forgets, fears that he would cease to exist after Aleph finishes creating the universe, decides to hide the magical semi-colon, the the sacred entity that keeps the perspective of all worlds in its rightful place. With the semi-colon gone, our two heroes of the story and the game’s namesake, Toodee and Topdee, must retrieve it from TooDoo and restore balance to the order of the perspective of the universe.
The story is straight looney toons level of goofy and the game knows it. Toodee and Topdee has a witty sense of humor throughout the game’s short cutscenes. The game pokes fun at common video game tropes, such as overly done boss monologues before a fight and questioning the designs of even the main characters themselves. The protagonists themselves are very likeable, with Toodee being the impatient but brave adventurer type, and Topdee being the more calm and discerning counterpart. The story is simple but has a charm that isn’t seen in many games with its witty dialogue and lighthearted tone. The real filling in the pie though, it’s the gameplay.
Toodee and Topdee is a puzzle game that switches between top-down and platforming perspective. With the press of a button, you interact with the world’s objects and to progress further throughout the level. Toodee is controlled via traditional platformer perspective ala Mario, while Topdee moves around in a top-down camera perspective like old-school NES Zelda. For instance, a simple box in the top-down perspective when moved by Topdee can be positioned to be an extra platform for Toodee to jump on. Enemies also behave differently as well; pigs and bats will follow Topdee around when in the top-down perspective, but will simply patrol the level once in side scrolling view. It is an interesting gameplay mechanic that is simple to understand and hard to master. Thankfully the game is complimented with stellar level design that does not hold back on creativity.
Throughout the game, Toodee and Topdee throws new concepts such as shadow puppets that you control in both perspectives, weight cubes that act differently depending on the perspective, and portal cubes that teleports things to the other side of the screen. As the game progresses, the difficulty ramps up tremendously as puzzles get more complex but nothing that will leaving you going over to Gamefaqs for a tutorial on it. And when you solves those puzzles on your own, you There are also time sensitive puzzles and boss fights that will have you on your keyboard switching back and forth frantically. The game also surprises you near the end in its final boss, but I won’t spoiler it here; just be in for a treat!
Toodee and Topdee also boasts multiplayer co-op, where you or a buddy can control the protagonists separately to help each other out (or troll each other over). The game also lets you adjust the difficulty through the options menu by having infinite lives, air jumps and super strength to pick up heavy boxes. This is great for casuals who want to get into the game at a later level, or speedrunners trying to get the fastest time by practicing. Or you can go the way the game is meant to played and have to restart over and over until you get it right; trial and error. Boasting over 50+ levels of intense and challenging puzzles along with replay-ability by getting a faster time or deathless runs, Toodee and Topdee is definitely well-worth the price of $20.
Graphics and Music:
Toodee and Topdee supports a colorful and vibrant atmosphere with cartoonish characters and setting. It looks like a game made by PBS Kids, and animates like one too. Small pig enemies, giant evil monkeys, Toodee stretching out whenever he jumps, the game has a very saturday morning cartoon vibe to it. The music is also very good and really puts you in the mood for each scenario. Whether it be the calm and ambient lullabies while completing regular levels, or the frantic and catchy songs from the boss fights, Toodee and Topdee’s ost is great for the pace of the game. Where the game really shines though is in its bosses, as their animations and facial expressions are vibrant and expressive with loud sounds and unique themes, as well as make good use of their design when facing off against them. Dietzribi put a lot of care into polishing this game and they have succeeded with major colors. The game also runs very well, not dropping any frames during my playthroughs and you can even adjust the
Toodee and Topdee manages to do two things a lot of games do not these days; being unique and being good. This game is pleasing to look at, has great music, amazing addictive gameplay, fun to come back to, super enjoyable with a multilpayer. I cannot say enough in this review that you should play this game if you haven’t yet. You can pick it up on Steam on pc right now.
I give Toodee and Topdee a 5/5.