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To carry the breakfast analogy through to its full extent, Force of Habit’s retro-styled tower defense/shoot-‘em-up hybrid Toast Time comes with a glass of insanity and a side of ridiculousness. It’s utterly bonkers and lightning-fast right from the start, with a typically British kind of over-the-top silliness and tongue-in-cheek humor, though there’s a solid mechanic at the core.
Your singular preserve from a ruined breakfast is Terry the toaster’s projectile bread slices, which you fire at inter-dimensional, time-rushing beasts intent on sneaking off with your morning meal time (seriously). The one and only control mechanic involves tapping on the screen where you’d like to shoot, which sends Terry veering off in the opposite direction. It’s an inherently imprecise form of locomotion that unfortunately leads to immense frustration as levels get more hectic. Terry has to contend with more than just the critters charging at the clock from all sides; he also gets blown about by fans, pushed into the air by pads, and caught on the wrong side of a barrier all too easily.
Manipulating the controls to get where you need is challenging enough, but Toast Time piles on the difficulty — especially in the second half of its 45 levels. The game tries to balance this out with more powerful forms of toast, such as rapid-fire breadcrumbs or multi-slice baguettes, which you unlock as you progress, but these do little to compensate for the real issue here. Getting Terry where you want him — and aiming toast shots in general — simply gets too finicky for the degree of precision the level designs demand, and he scoots off at such speed that it’s not always clear what’ll happen to him after you fire a shot.
That said, Toast Time is delightful in the early stages and whenever else you manage to bend it to your will. It looks and sounds a peach, with adorable (and customizable) outfits to boot, and there’s enough variety to keep it fresh throughout. Just be prepared for some major frustration on the back end.
The bottom line. Toast Time perfectly captures the chaos of a rushed breakfast; similarly, it doesn’t always sit well and it’s tough to fully digest.
iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 5.1 or later
Stylish retro aesthetic. Zany, oddball concept. Solid core mechanic. Lots of content.
Controls are too finicky for some of the levels. Super frustrating.