Two of my favorite video game genres are platformers and puzzle games. That is not that surprising since the puzzle platformer is one of the most popular indie video game genres. I am always on the lookout for interesting new games that mix platforming and puzzle mechanics. I was really intrigued when I first saw Toodee and Topdee. Combining a 2D platformer with top down puzzle mechanics sounded like a really interesting idea. The game originally came out in 2021, but it makes it debut on PlayStation and Xbox today. Toodee and Topdee is a fun and interesting twist on your typical puzzle platformer that should intrigue fans of the genre.
The world of Toodee and Topdee was at peace for a long time. It was held together by the magical semicolon. One day the semicolon is stolen. This forces the different worlds to merge. You play as Toodee and Topdee who are from completely different worlds. They must work together to find the missing semicolon and prevent even more destruction.
Toodee and Topdee is an interesting blend of 2D platforming and top down puzzle mechanics. The goal of each level is to get both characters to the end portal without hitting any hazards or enemies. To get to the portal you need to use each characters’ special abilities. At the end of each set of levels is a boss that forces you to utilize the mechanics emphasized in the previous levels.
Toodee comes from a world similar to your typical 2D platformer. When playing Toodee you will mostly use your platforming skills. You need to jump between platforms and avoid obstacles. You will use these skills to gather keys and complete other objectives in order to open up a path for Topdee. The character controls like your typical 2D platformer character as you can move left and right. You also have access to a jump.
Rarely is there a straightforward path to the portal for Toodee though. This is where Topdee comes in. Topdee comes from a top down world typical of a puzzle game. Gravity does not affect Topdee. Therefore you move around on the screen like you are walking on the background of the 2D screen. You will mostly use Topdee to open up a path for Toodee. Topdee can pick up and slide boxes to create platforms that Toodee can jump on. You will also complete various other challenges in order to open up a path forward.
The game is built around switching between these two characters to utilize their different abilities. Switching between them is a simple press of a button which freezes time for one character and activates the other. For most levels you will have to switch back and forth a couple times in order to open up paths for each character to progress forward. As you progress through the game you will unlock additional things you need to use such as portals, enemies, another character that mimics the movements you make, and other things
I have played a lot of puzzle platformers which is not surprising since it is one of my favorite genres. I don’t know if I have ever played one quite like Toodee and Topdee though. It is a pretty interesting blend of the two genres as you regularly have to switch between your typical 2D platformer and figuring out how to manipulate the environment to progress further. The game does a good job balancing between the two and you need to utilize both to finish each level.
On its surface the premise of Toodee and Topdee is pretty simple. You basically manipulate the environment to make a path forward for both characters. Despite this, Toodee and Topdee does a great job utilizing this mechanic. The controls are simple and easy to pick up for anyone familiar with the genre. Some of the mechanics you kind of have to figure out on your own. Once you figure out how to manipulate them though, they are quite straightforward. The gameplay is quite intuitive.
Because of how the game is designed, you need to be a fan of platformers and puzzle games in order to get the most enjoyment out of it. Each level has a different emphasis on the two elements, but pretty much every one requires at least a little of both. Sometimes you need to make some pretty precise jumps with good timing. Other times you need to solve a multi-step puzzle. If you are looking for a pure platformer or puzzle game, Toodee and Topdee may not be for you.
I think the area the game shines the most is the puzzle/gameplay design. For this type of game to succeed it needed to find fun and interesting ways of utilizing the mechanic of switching between 2D and top down. The game excels at using these mechanics to their fullest. Some of the puzzles are really straightforward where you don’t have to put a lot of thought into solving them. Most do require you to think out how you need to use each of the characters to progress. Some of these puzzles require some interesting manipulation of the mechanics in ways you might not first think of. The puzzles are fun and usually find the right challenge level. They aren’t so challenging that they become frustrating, but they make you think enough that you get a sense of accomplishment when you finish some of the most difficult levels.
As for difficulty I think the game finds a pretty good balance. Taking into consideration that I play quite a few games from this genre, I would say that the game is moderately difficult. This somewhat depends on the levels themselves. Sometimes you need to make a pretty precise jump, and other times you need to figure out a somewhat complicated chain of events to open up a path. I think the game generally does a pretty good job finding the right balance for most players.
The amount of challenge you will get from the game kind of depends on what you want to get out of it. It ultimately is not that difficult to beat most of the levels. With no time or switch limit, you will eventually figure out what you need to do to beat a level.
Toodee and Topdee becomes quite a bit more challenging if you try to collect the ladybugs from each level. There are four different types (one is secret and unlocks after you beat the game) of ladybugs that you can collect. You get one ladybug just for beating a level within a certain amount of time. The second ladybug is given if you limit the number of switches between Topdee and Toodee. The third type of ladybug is given if you avoid killing all of the enemies.
While it is not that difficult to just beat most of the levels, collecting the ladybugs adds quite a bit of challenge to the game. The blue ladybugs are the most interesting since they force you to plan out your moves. You only can make a few switches so you need to maximize the use of each character. This adds a lot to the puzzle aspect as you usually have to figure out how to optimize your movements. In some cases this may force you to think about the level in a completely different way. The red ladybugs are more about mastery of a level as you need to complete them quickly to get them.
Outside of adding more challenge to the game, these ladybugs actually unlock things in the game once you collect enough of them. Eventually you will collect enough of them to unlock an additional set of levels after you beat the game. These levels are the most challenging in the entire game as they force you to master all of the skills you have learned. They regularly force you to manipulate quirks/glitches in the gameplay as well. While some of these are quite fun and challenging, others are kind of frustrating as they require almost perfect timing to complete. These levels are completely optional so you can avoid them if you want.
Just like with the difficulty, Toodee and Topdee’s length is going to really depend on what you want to get out of the game. If you only want to beat the levels and don’t care about the ladybugs, the game is going to be considerably shorter than if you try to collect all of them. You might be a little disappointed by the length if you don’t try to get any of these ladybugs. Should you try to get most or all of them though, I think you will be pleased with the game’s length.
As for the story and visuals, I think Toodee and Topdee does a solid job. The visuals are pretty typical of 2D games. The character designs are pretty good, but stick pretty close to your typical game from the genre. The story is pretty straightforward. I liked the characters and wanted to see how the story would end. I wouldn’t say that the story was so compelling though that it was a main draw for the game.
Ultimately Toodee and Topdee is a fun puzzle platformer that fans of both genres should really enjoy. The premise behind having to manipulate your environment to make progress might not be the most original. Toodee and Topdee does it in an interesting way though. You need to use both characters together in order to complete all of the levels. Some levels emphasis the platforming more while others have more emphasis on puzzles. Most of the levels are designed where they are fun and give you a sense of satisfaction. The game is moderately difficult and more challenging if you try to collect the challenge ladybugs.
Ultimately my recommendation for Toodee and Topdee comes down to whether you like puzzle platformers. If you don’t like either genre or only one of them, I don’t know if Toodee and Topdee will be for you. If you enjoy a good puzzle platformer though, I think you will really enjoy Toodee and Topdee.
Toodee and Topdee
Release Date: August 4th, 2021 (PC), April 14th, 2022 (Nintendo Switch), June 7th, 2023 (PlayStation 4/5, Xbox One/Series X|S) | Systems: Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4/5, Xbox One/Series X|S
Developer: dietzribi | Publisher: dietzribi | ESRB Rating: Everyone
Genres: Indie, Puzzle Platformer
Official Website: https://dietzribi.com/
- Fun combination of puzzle and platforming mechanics.
- Good level design forces you to think outside of the box to finish levels.
- May not be for you if you are looking for a pure platformer or puzzle game.
- The story and visuals are solid, but not spectacular.
Recommendation: For fans of 2D puzzle platformers.
We at Geeky Hobbies would like to thank dietzribi for the review copy of Toodee and Topdee used for this review. Other than receiving a free copy of the game to review, we at Geeky Hobbies received no other compensation for this review. Receiving the review copy for free had no impact on the content of this review or the final score.