Toy Monsters – The Review

May 13, 2023 ·

If you could play a game within the tower-defense genre, what would be your ideal setting? Animals? Miniature toy figures? What about monsters? I think mine would be a combination as there could be so many possibilities. But what if you could play it anywhere from the park to your house? How much more immersive would that be? When you think about the possibilities, the game could be endless. So does the developer, YetUnkown Games show us the fun the tower-defense genre can really be? Let’s find out with Toy Monsters for Quest 2.

Toy Monsters is a mixed-reality tabletop tower defense game built from the ground up with hand tracking and passthrough in mind. You will defend against hordes of invading monsters by strategically placing magical toy defenders powered by star power. You will encounter a range of enemies, such as Frankenstein monsters, ghosts, dark wizards, and more, each with their unique abilities and weaknesses. So before going out and trying to defend against the invasion, there are a few things that you should be aware of. First, you can use hand-tracking or controllers, the choice is yours. If you go with the controller route, make sure you have everything charged as you don’t want to be on that brink of a win only to have your headset or controllers die because you forgot to charge them. But, even if the controllers do die, you have the hand-tracking option. Second, find your favorite place and be comfortable. You deserve it. And finally, just have some fun. With that said, let’s continue…

When you first start, you do have this passthrough default environment, which just shows that you can play anywhere. Then on the table, just a single play button with the ability to grab and move around the table if you elect to do so. Then once you press the button you are introduced to the tutorial that shows how to place your characters, which the more you progress, the more you will unlock after each round. For each toy character, there are different types that work as offense and defense. For offense, you have things like a spitting candle, cannons that will do some destruction and even cake-shaped mines. For the defensive side, you have things like a big stuffed teddy bear that makes it harder for the evil monsters to get through to my personal favorite, the train, which will just haul down the pathway and run anything over. But you have to have a certain amount of stars to be able to use that toy. Stars will appear from time to time and you need to grab them so you can add to your star count.

When you first start, you only have to worry about a single row, but as you progress through the stages, you will have more rows to build up your toys as the monsters start to come in packs and attack different rows to get to the end of the rows. On the left corner, you have the potion that you can use from time to time to give some boost to your toys. But if you are needing some extra stars so you can use more of your toys, use the potion on the star toys and they will shoot out those stars in bursts for a limited time. On the right, you will have a crystal that will you to have some powers to help team up with your toys.

Let’s look at the graphics and sound. When playing I always like to look at everything from the environments to more simple things like intentions on walls or the ground. Picking up each of the toys and seeing the way they differ and how they interact while defending is really well done. They all look like they could be part of a toy collection or part of a Funko Pop line. I mean, the candle alone would be an awesome Christmas ornament. With the sound, you have the complimenting soundtrack, but when you add in all the action that is going on as each toy makes its own sound, things can be a little hard to hear at times. Thankfully in the settings, you can adjust things to your liking.

There are a few things that I would love to see. First, is multiplayer. Having an online 2-player co-op session would just add to the replayability and fun. Second, more toys. It would be fun if there was the ability to create our own toys and give them a power that could be selected from. That way, if the online portion does happen, it would be a surprise for the other player and vice versa. Third, more levels. More levels can always be more fun. And finally, more platforms. Yes, there may not be that hand-tracking or pass-through for every headset, but the ability to have other players play would be a pretty fun matchup.

Toy Monsters allows us to play with fun toys and adds to the tower-defense genre. It allows anyone of any age to just let go and have a fun time without being something it’s not claiming to be. In life, we sometimes get busy with things that we sometimes forget what it is or what it was like being a child who just wants to play with their toys while not having to worry about what’s going on in the world around them. But couldn’t we all use some time to escape and forget about what’s going on in the world around us?

Toy Monsters is out now via Oculus App Lab on the Oculus Store.

To learn more about YetUnknown Games, please visit their site, follow them on Twitter, and subscribe to their YouTube channel.

Also, check out the Toy Monsters interview.

In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy. Until next time, I have to select some new toys to use on the battlefield.

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