The developers of Toast Time: Smash Up!, Force of Habit, provided the review code for this game.
Toast Time: Smash Up! started off as Toast Time on mobile platforms, before making its way to the Switch with an additional multiplayer mode. Having never played the original version it’s all new to me. It’s immediately reminiscent of games like Super Crate Box, while combining genres like Tower Defence and Arena Shooter all within a confined space.
You’ll find yourself moving around a small area as a humble Toaster, Terry the Toaster. Terry can’t walk or jump, he propels himself forward by firing in the opposite direction to where he wants to travel. Somewhere on the screen is a stopclock you need to protect from approaching enemies by firing toast at them. If they get to the stopclock you fail the stage. Depending on the stage, they can approach from any angle. It’s a good thing you have 360 degrees for aiming and firing.
You can play it loose and just get by, or you will need to tighten up your aiming and anchor yourself to the spot where ever you hit the hold button. The anchor is a really important move, in fact besides propelling yourself around by shooting it’s your only move. Trying to hit enemies while wildly moving around the area is chaotic and the anchor quite literally anchors you back to a more reasonable way of attacking.
Some levels change over the course of the time limit, adding more ways for baddies to approach the stopclock. Nothing ever changes wildly, the weapon pickups are what usually determine how you’ll tackle the enemies and with the random nature of what weapons you’ll get it can make the difference between doing well or just scraping by.
There is also the big draw card to this version of Toast Time, and that’s the multiplayer. You and three friends can hop on and barrage each other with baked goods. You can set how many rounds, and tweak a few other settings such as if there’s a timer or the kind of ammo you’ll be able to pick up. You can customise your toasters with little hats which will help distinguish which toaster is yours in the heat of battle. The multiplayer mode like the single player is fast paced, and involves you getting a good control of propelling yourself and using the anchor move. It takes one hit to knock your toaster out of the battle, it’s good for keeping things moving. Speaking of moving, the arenas usually have a few moving parts. This can provide lots of cover for players, but when you’re not all experts at the controls they can tend to slow gameplay down. All up, the multiplayer mode is alright. It’s a neat little game to play against friends when you have a few minutes, or need a break between Smash Brothers and Mario Karts.
The Super Crate Box vibes are in regards to the unlocking weapons through collecting enough crates. Getting enough crates adds a new weapon into the random weapons (or is it ammo being fired out of the toaster?) you can be given when you get a crate drop. Every weapon is pretty different, from the spread-fire bagels to the fragmenting explosive Sub Sandwiches. Not knowing what weapon you’ll get, you’ll quickly get used to working out the strengths and weaknesses of the different types. It’s nothing complex, but it’s definitely useful for the multiplayer battles and if you want to get anywhere near a decent score after the first block of single player levels.
One thing you’ll notice straight away is the visuals, simple pixel graphics reminiscent of old Amiga/commodore graphics. It easily looks like it could’ve come from an 80s system. Accompanying the sprite graphics are jaunty chip tunes which add to the game in short bursts. Like the rest of the game it’s not really made for extended play. Overall the retro/pixel aesthetic is alright and suits the fast paced nature.
Toast Time is a bit of fun, and I mean a bit. It definitely works better in brief bursts, even as a multiplayer game. It’s not exactly a deep game, but more of an arcade game you’ll pick up every now and then. If you’re looking for a quick party game and you’re after something the group hasn’t tried out before, Toast Time is a good fit.