The premise of the cute puzzle platformer Togges is simple: manipulate a sequence of living cubes (called Togges) to beat challenges.
The reality though is anything but. From something as rudimentary as the title to the way it insists on breaking the fourth wall, Togges is densely packed with questionable design choices that feel overworked. Before you decide to give Togges a go this Christmas, let me break it down for you.
You would be remiss into thinking Togges is pronounced ‘Toggs’ because it’s actually pronounced ‘Togg-eez’. Don’t feel too bad for getting it wrong; it’s not immediately obvious because it has a letter ‘e’ that doesn’t need to be there. Based on a quick Google search, the word doesn’t exist, so there’s no basis for how it should be pronounced.
I admit, this is a low blow and the level of pettiness hasn’t gone unrecognised, so let’s move on to something less regrettable and more critical.
In Togges, the King President and his Togge citizens know you’re a gamer sitting in front of a TV, essentially playing God in their world. However, to justify breaking the fourth wall the King President is actually interviewing you for a job. In order to fulfil this job, you have to control a robot vacuum cleaner that controls Togges.
What’s baffling is why the player is being interviewed in the first place. Why can’t the main protagonist be the robot vacuum cleaner? Actually, why is there a Roomba at all? Just be the Togges! There is literally no benefit from breaking the convention of playing as a loveable character that has an explicable talent for jumping.
It’s genuinely uncomfortable playing as a character that knows you’re manipulating it too. Don’t worry – the irony isn’t lost on me. We know we are puppeteering all the main characters in our games but they don’t know we know, you know?
To complicate matters, the plot is equally as baffling as the initial set-up. Togges takes place in what is presumably our universe because the King President insists that his Togges are crucial to keeping the fabric of reality stitched together. Yet, the fabric of reality isn’t even coming apart.
The King President has hired you to spread his Togges all over the universe so he can achieve galactic domination. So, he might be exaggerating how important Togges are for his own ambitions – ambitions that are essentially swept under the rug with the explanation that he’s not evil, he’s just giving you something to do.
Eventually, you find out that there’s something called the Void, which actually is consuming the known universe! So why you’re wasting your time proliferating the world with Togges instead of vacuuming up the Void is beyond me.
The Work Load
Speaking of wasting your time, the King President has plenty of work for you to do, and it’s spread on so thick that it’s difficult to digest it all. If you had to ask me, the main objective is to get Togges to eat fruit. This is a simple objective ideal for a puzzle platformer, where each level can escalate in difficulty, forcing you to use Togges in creative ways to achieve this goal.
Instead, Togges throws everything but the kitchen sink at you, but the King President will pop up now and again to remind you that continuing to eat fruit should be your primary objective, just in case the importance was lost on you.
Here’s a brief list of all the distractions in your way:
- Collect gems
- Paint random areas with Togges
- Fill balloons with Togges
- Collect giant keys
- Collect letters
- Complete sidequests
- Fill a museum with stuff
- Unlock different coloured Togges
- Use Togge elemental powers
- Find hidden doors and unreachable areas that will need returning to at a later date (buy a notepad and pen to keep track, I guess?)
All of these jobs are piled on so relentlessly during the tutorial it’s exhausting to get through.
The Lengthy Tutorial(s)
Togges can’t decide where the tutorial begins and where it ends. It’s obvious to me that before you set foot on Togge Palace (Level 0), the introduction with the King President and how to control Toomba the Roomba is the tutorial. It takes place in an abstract room where the basics are covered. But once you finally start your first day on Togge Palace you’re bludgeoned with many objectives and explanatory pop-ups.
After 2 hours, I finally reached a spaceship so that I could start exploring the universe and as I set foot on it the King President had the audacity to ask if I was ready to leave the tutorial. 2 hours deep and I didn’t know I had even started the game yet.
The Verbal Diarrhoea
Everything about Togges feels overworked and the dialogue is no exception. Characters never shut up, chatting on for ages about pointless shit in an attempt to make them seem funny or interesting. The truth is, once the character has explained what needs doing in the first sentence the rest is pointless chatter you will frantically try to skip through.
Paired with the fact that all the text boxes are the same colour no matter who is talking, conversations often become a gush of exposition that’s difficult to care about. This is most true when talking to the Triplets, who all look the same and sound the same. In true Togges fashion, instead of trimming the fat and condensing them into one entity, the player has to tolerate 2 extra heads that are unnecessary.
I would like to wrap up my hands-on with a swift punch of positivity. Visually, it’s quite pleasing and the cute Kawaii faces on the Togges make it very agreeable. Consuming the huge pieces of fruit fills you with a rush of dopamine, as does discovering secret areas while zipping around the planetoids. For some inexplicable reason, I loved it when Toomba the Roomba was catapulted from one planetoid to another. It reminded of Neo doing his ‘Superman thing’ in The Matrix – seeing the little robot vacuum soar into orbit and come plummeting back down to solid ground was the most pleasurable thing about playing Togges.