Review: Eduardo the Samurai Toaster (WiiWare)

Let there be toast!

One of the benefits of digital media distribution is the chance developers get to stretch their limbs and explore some creative paths often overlooked or avoided. Step in Eduardo The Samurai Toaster, a game with a concept very much out of the ordinary. It’s in good company though, as Wiiware has certainly had its share of strange titles. But fear not: Eduardo has the toast behind it to set it aside from the crowd, not just because it’s odd, but also because it’s quite fun.

Eduardo The Samurai Toaster is a run-and-gun action title, but not of the usual variety. Instead of guns and swords you’ll use toaster pastries and your little toaster handles; instead of the common roundup of enemies you’ll be facing carrots, bees with sunglasses, and strudels aplenty. Of course while the settings may be strange, the gameplay remains a fairly standard affair for the genre: after selecting your difficulty and number of lives you’ll be tossed into the game, and from there it all comes down to destroying everything in your path.

The game controls NES-style, with your Wii remote in the horizontal position. It’s all fairly straightforward stuff, and the only genuine complaint you might conjure is the lack of any motion control functionality. Honestly though, with as much action taking place as there is in the game, the inclusion would have likely hindered the game.

You can shoot in many directions, even below if needed. By picking up different ammo packs you can change up your shots as well, with rapid-fire shots, spread shots, homing missiles, and my personal favorite: the large puffy cloud of death. Ammo is essential to playing, as without it you’ll have to hammer the fire button with minimal results, but thankfully it’s in abundant supply, though at times you may find yourself in a jam with only standard shots at your disposal.

Through the course of the game you’ll encounter quite a bit of level variety. For the most part you’ll be trekking it on foot, but a handful of levels offer some diversions. Sadly, the game is quite short, and can (and should) be completed in a sitting. Some may find this off-putting, but ultimately it makes sense: the initial play-through is not meant to be the end of your experience, but rather only the beginning. Going back for more on harder difficulties or with friends will keep your experience going long after the credits roll (which happens to be as soon as you boot it up).

It’s a fairly challenging game overall, but how hard exactly is mostly up to you, as there is a large range of customization available on difficulty setup at your disposal. If you simply want to see what the game has to offer, you can create a manageable run-through; if you want your fingers to bleed, you can do that as well. It might be lacking in levels, but there can be little complaining about the title's level of challenge, because it can be whatever you want it to be.

If you're feeling lonely, the game features a drop-in cooperative multiplayer function, a nice touch as it adds quite a bit of replay value to the experience - provided you have friends of course. If you're feeling a bit of animosity towards your fellow man, you can opt for friendly fire and screw each other up at any opportunity, and as the title contains no alternate game modes for battling purposes it's a welcome feature for those who like to screw up their friends. You know who you are.

What really ignites Eduardo The Samurai Toaster is its presentation. The visuals and the audio are a treat to see and hear, a rarity for games as small as this. The graphics are extremely varied as the levels go by, and all work towards an overall unique and pleasant game to look at. The music is equally good, if not more so. The tracks represent the source material quite well, and the quality of the audio is superb. Coming from someone who picks game music to pieces, consider that a huge compliment.

Eduardo is not without its faults of course. Even over the short course of the game, things can get a bit repetitive, and mashing the 1 button on your Wii Remote can get frustrating. Additionally, while local multiplayer is great, it would have been nice to have some sort of online functionality: online multiplayer or leaderboards would have really pumped the experience to a higher level. Without said features Eduardo is still great, but had they been included it would have easily risen a rank or two.

Conclusion

Overall, Eduardo the Samurai Toaster stands as yet another great asset to the Wiiware service. While not perfect, it provides a fun experience for multiple players, plus one of the best presentations any Wiiware title to date has received. If you’re a fan of the genre, or simply curious of this highly unusual concept, then consider Eduardo a must have for your digital library.

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