Toby: The Secret Mine is a 2D adventure game by Headup Games with various points of puzzle solving and platforming. If you enjoy games, like Limbo or Inside, then you may want to try your hand at this game and see for yourself.
Toby: The Secret Mine has very few controls to speak of, but the gameplay itself does not suffer from this minimalism. “B” is an action key that helps you pull levers and hop in a mine cart. If there is nothing to interact with, then Toby simply shrugs. You will most likely be mashing the “A” button on account of all the platforming and impromptu avalanches. Also, beware monster chases. You never know what is beyond the corner. You can pause the game at any time, which is always a plus, but it won’t save you from the inevitable frustration from dying over a hundred times before you reach the end. There are many achievements, and one specifically congratulates you on dying a hundred times over. My death count is 161!
I think my favorite part of the game is its scenery. Despite having died many times over, I never complained about the levels being the exact same thing. The developers did a good job with level design, which tests your memory – and then uses your memory skills against you by mixing it up from time to time. Be sure to watch your step. Each series of levels grows more difficult as you progress deeper and deeper within the secret mine. My least favorite section was the desert, mostly because of the carnivorous sand worms that spring into action as soon as you touch the ground beside them. The sawblade section is no laughing matter either, but at least then you have the opportunity to ride in a mine cart.
The soundtrack is not bad either. I like how the music has a dungeon diving feel to it as the melody echoes in the backdrop and keeps you somewhat invested in pushing forward. As I mentioned earlier, the scenery is great. I really like the aesthetics the developers chose for each level. The animation is also pleasing to the eye. Occasionally Toby will get stuck on a wall here and there, but it was never anything game breaking. Though, I do wish that there was more detail in the characters. Just like Limbo, the art style incorporates a lot of silhouettes to create a background, characters, and obstacles to the point that it hinders what you can see when puzzle solving.
There is a plot to Toby: The Secret Mine, but I don’t think it is particularly strong. The opening sequence illustrates that a bigger, badder, version of you, with red eyes, is kidnapping your friends and is taking them deeper into the mine. There are 26 of them in total, and you can rescue them throughout your journey. The real motivation in pushing forward comes from wanting to save these little guys with minimal deaths. The game is also relatively short compared to most 2D side scrolling adventures, so I was not necessarily put off by any of initiative. Dying over and over again does take a mental toll on you, though. But that’s what makes it feel rewarding – when you finally make it.
Overall, I think Toby: The Secret Mine is a pretty good game that plays with the player’s expectations and uses memory as a weapon. The scenery and soundtrack work well together and create a realm I can really get immersed in. The animation and scripting is also fairly well done, even though the monsters and sawblades keep going while you are just being revived at the checkpoint. I think a fair score should be an 8 out of 10.
Here is Toby: The Secret Mine Xbox One Release Trailer:
Toby: The Secret Mine can be purchased for a price of $9.99 / €9,99 / £7.99 directly on your Xbox One or in the Microsoft Store.