Totes The Goat
Release Date 1 March 2018
Price: $4.99 / £4.49
Reviewed by Gary Gray
Mobile games are starting to flood the Nintendo eShop, which can be seen as a good or a bad thing depending on who you are. So does Totes the Goat translate well to the Switch, or does it plummet into the category of a bad port?
On mobile devices, Totes relies on other ways to make money as it’s free to play, so it makes sense that on Switch it has a tiny price tag (and it works out cheaper than all the micro transactions).
Rewind for a second to 1982, Q*bert arrived in arcades and was well received by critics. In short, Totes the Goat is basically a clone and/or tribute to the instantly recognisable arcade classic.
Stages are set with a collection of blocks in an isometric, pyramid like layout and all of the same colour. Your mission is to jump on every block to change the colour of them all. Sounds easy right? Well there’s a collection of enemies trying to make this hard for you. Some differ in the amount of spaces they move while others that can change blocks back to their original colour.
There’s multiple control set ups at hand too. The standard is simple; tilt the stick in the direction you want to go and Totes will jump where you're pointing. Alternatively you can set it so you have to press A to jump, which gives a little bit of extra control that anyone who's spent years playing 2D platformers will appreciate. As you’d expect from a mobile port, you can also use touch screen to swipe your way through the levels.
Thats pretty much gameplay summed up, except for coins that can be picked up to purchase extra characters (these were locked behind microtransactions on mobile) to a few spaces that are blocked by scenery.
The optional characters are a great addition to the game, and while they don’t change gameplay in any way, they do offer new skins and levels, with a few audio tweaks accompanying them. Max from Mutant Mudds as well as Chicken Wiggle and a few other Atooi owned characters also join the line up. These are a little special as they let you pick up extra coins on your playthrough, helping you to rapidly unlock all characters.
Visually, Totes the Goat is simple, with a plain black backdrop contrasting the punching, vibrant foreground colours. While not graphically stunning, it’s simple, clean and crisp, doing the job incredibly well.
On the other hand the soundtrack can really grind on you after a while. Long winning streaks are plagued by a single song on repeat, and while the one tune is a great, 8-bit inspired track (and catchy as hell) it soon becomes annoying and it's disappointing that there isn’t more there.
Where there is a high score on display, there’s no leader board system so it’ll only be your own high score that you're trying to beat. A little bit of a missed opportunity for competitive communities, it would’ve been nice to see my friends high scores easily and in a rank.
The game is also great for a quick pick up and play, and I’ve gotten into the habit of playing a level before I boot up another game. However, long playthroughs do become a little stale. Levels are pre-made but seem to be loaded randomly, so each time you play is different, preventing you from learning a pattern and keeping things fresh.
Totes the Goat has made the transition from mobile to Switch quite well, with simple retro fun, laid out over a clean, crisp art style. Where solid control options enhance the enjoyment to be had on the Switch version, simple things like no rumble, the lack of leaderboards, and soundtrack consisting of only one song, are a bit of a miss.
Pros & Cons
+ Simple fun
+ Fun unlockable characters
+ Good variety of control options
- No leaderboards
- Short lived
- Monotonous soundtrack