Toy Bot Diaries was one of the first games I purchased when I brought home my shiny new iPhone 3G. The promise of a true platform game on a platform without a d-pad or even buttons was too much for me to pass up, especially for the "so cheap I feel like I'm stealing" price of under $5. What I found was a colorful game with tons of personality, but a few control issues got in the way of my enjoyment.
Months later, Toy Bot has spawned two sequels, Volume 2 and Volume 3, and even though the environment has changed, the control issues remain and are still pesky thorns in the side of one of the iPhone's most successful and entertaining franchises.
Since his first two adventures, the little robot has come a long way. In Volume 3, the Toy Bot has found his way into outer space, a far cry from the innards of a vending machine where he began his journey. The new setting works both for and against the Bot, as the weightlessness glosses over some of the "tilt-to-move" control issues, but brings other problems, like the iffy physics and magnet-boots, to light. The switch between your tether for grabbing objects and the boots that allow you to stick to surfaces is still too touchy to work 100% of the time, and this can lead to some real headaches when navigating trickier areas. The zero-gravity can make you feel as though some of the swinging by a tether sequences make more sense, but Little Big Planet this is not; a spinning platform has just as much chance as shooting you off in the right direction as it does of throwing you right back where you came from.
Also, and this is so minor a point I'm not sure I should even mention it, but part of the Bot's past appeal was in his size when compared to the rest of the world. The first volume had players dragging around quarters that were bigger than the Bot himself to open paths in vending machines, whereas in space, you never get the sense that the Bot is a little guy in a much bigger world.
Things in Volume 3 are still, for better or worse, the same as the past two games. You'll still have plenty of hidden items to collect (grab enough and you unlock comic strip-style scenes explaining the Bots journey) and a few stages to work through. If you are industrious enough to make picking up all the scenes a priority, then you'll be treated to a cute, albeit completely text-free, chronicling the Toy Bot's adventures. But who am I kidding? I've looked over worse issues in other games than magnetism and physics, and review copy or no, I'm 100% positive that when Volume 4 hits iTunes App Store, I'll be playing it. Keep in mind, though, that the franchise can only go up from here, and you may want to get in on the ground floor by downloading Volume 1 first.
In The End, This Game Hath Been Rated: