Title: Toro! Let’s Party
Alternative Titles: Toro to Morimori | Toro Anniversary Collection
Published by: Sony Computer Entertainment
Based On: The Dokodemo Issyo series by Sony
Console: Playstation 3
Genre: Party / Mini-games
Rating: No English Rating given, most probably a G or PG rating.
Audio: Japanese Audio
Text: English or Chinese
Region: No region constrictions. Japanese and English/Chinese Asia versions available.
Cost: $US 39.90 from Play-asia
Sometimes to find a good game, you have got to look outside of your normal game store, or even outside your country. This title, Toro! Lets Party is based on the Sony mascot series in Japan which has spread over several PlayStation consoles and now acts as a special news station for Japanese gamers, updating weekly with game previews and other special announcements. This game celebrates the series 10th (??) year with a mini-game collection that covers a significant number of different games that covers a number of different styles of gameplay from kart racing to a more modern game of Snake (The one that used to be bundled on every single mobile phone made in the late 90’s, early 00’s. The game never made it to North America, Europe or Australia so it hasn’t got widespread coverage as it is only available in the Japanese version, or the version more inclined for English gamers, the English Hong Kong version. English Asian versions are seemingly coming out more often for a lot of popular games, and whilst the box and manual may be in Chinese, the game comes in both English/Chinese as well as at a cheaper cost. Anyway, if you are interested, read on for my review of Toro! Lets Party! on the Playstation 3.
The story follows Toro, a white cat who leaves his comfortable life to travel the world and help those who have troubles in order to achieve memories, which he can trade in, once filled, to become a human. At the start of his quest, he meets Kuro, a black cat who decides to travel the world with him, however his reasoning is occasionally placed into doubt about why he is. During their quest, they meet several signature characters from the series such as the rabbit Jun, the cardboard robot R-Suzuki, the frog Ricky, the dog Pierre and many other characters that are primarily limited to this game.
The games storyline progresses by choosing different mini-games from the memory diary which unlocks memories three at a time, with you having to complete at least two of them to unlock the next three. The general progression of this is [Plot] –> [Minigame] –> [Plot]. The storylines usually have something to do with the mini game and try to add some sort of randomness or comedy component to it, and for the most part, it does it well. The only issue that I found was that, because the narrators voice was so slow and in Japanese, that it was quite tedious to listen to it, when you couldn’t actually skip over it. However, whilst it isnt a storyline to applaud or anything, it does get the job done well and has a good cast of characters that take part in the minigames.
For the most part, the environment designs are all pre-rendered backdrops, however for the purpose of this game, they do a good job in working with the character designs and getting the overall feel of the “Japan” city and town environments shown. They are well detailed and are definately not an eyesore to look at, and are also modified in a few storylines to add to a comedy element, such as the changing of prices in a store window to adding something unusual to the background.
The character designs are all very interesting, despite the majority of the cast being cats. Toro is a good example as every mini-game results in him changing a costume from something normal such as…. say, a ninja to something outrageous such as a bowling pin or a carp. Character expressions are also comedic in nature and do not have much element of realism in them (Duh!). The non-cat character such as R-Suzuki also have unique ways of showing their expression, such as Suzuki having a different expression on each side of the cardboard box head which swings around depending on the mood. The animation is simple but quirky.
The music in this game is what I would consider average. The game has a variety of tracks, however a number of them are basically generic songs that are placed in different mini-games. However, a number of mini-games do have their own unique songs, such as Jingle Bells for when Toro becomes Santa, a racing sort of song for when Toro goes karting and so forth. The music is suitable however it would win no awards in the area of music.
There is no voice acting for any of the characters in this series and the only voice present is of that narrator, who speaks in Japanese in a sort of voice that you would expect to read out a fairy tale on a kids show. It is nice, however you get over her voice quite a lot, especially considering you most probably won’t understand what she is saying and would have already read the subtitles given.
In terms of gameplay, there are more then 30 minigames available for you to play, which range from the normal games you would expect to find in any mini-game compilation to some of the more weirder ones. These games all need to be unlocked from the Story Mode so sadly you will be forced to unlock them before they become free to play at your leisure. Some of the more normal games include the obligatory archery game, bowling and whack-a-mole whilst there are a number of more unique games such as pulling tablecloths, mochi pounding (Mochi Wikipedia link – Click Here) and a game called Where is your Home, where you use the six-axis motion censor on the controller to move a sort of jigsaw puzzle around from the start, to collect something and then make your way to the other side of the level to “home”.
The games for the most part are enjoyable, with the only exception being the card games which can take a lot of practice to master if you, like myself, are not used to games of the sort usually. Unlike a lot of mini-games from other games that have very strict time limits, a lot of these games go for as long as you have the skills to keep playing. Such as the Snakes game shown above, the controls are sort of tricky to master at the start, however once you master them, it is quite easy to get several dozen apples in one gameplay, however with the odd control scheme and not being constrained to a grid, it is easy to find yourself trapped up against your own tail.
Outside of story mode, a fair few of the mini-games have 2P – 4P support and are rather enjoyable if you have a few mates around to play. Some games also have multiple games within them, such as the whack-a-cat where you can play a normal game or one where you have to imitate the movements of the CPU for example. An A rank in any of the mini-games will more often then not unlock a trophy for your collection, with bonus trophies being given for having all SSS ranks and completing TOROathlon compilations to get points.
Personally, I think this game is well worth the $40 and that for anyone who wants a casual game to play with friends or family and don’t want to play the same old Mario Party games like me and my family have (We own all 8 Mario Party games… not that iffy Wii Party game through).
Storyline: B- (7)
Characters: B (7)
Graphics: B (8)
Music/Voice Acting: C+ (6)
Gameplay: A- (8)
Personal Opinion: A (9)
Overall Score: B+