Toribash (WiiWare)

Game Review

Toribash Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by James Newton

Worth a bash

Already freely available for PC, Toribash has landed on WiiWare with a 1,000 point price tag and a lot to live up to.

A turn-based fighting game, this title is seemingly impenetrable at first despite a series of tutorials that teach you your first basic moves: how to jump, to kick and to decapitate your opponent and throw their head out of the ring. You select a joint or muscle with the control stick and toggle it through four basic states – hold, relax, force or go back – with a press of A, and when you’re satisfied with your selection, a tap of B moves forward one turn. A ghost figure appears onscreen to show the result, proving invaluable in the early stages as you desperately flail your limbs against your opponent.

The sometimes fiddly controls are as much an obstacle at this stage as the game mechanics. Combinations of Z, C and the Control Stick zoom in and pan out, but when attempting a complex move or while the two fighters are tangled together, accurately highlighting the correct joint can prove quite difficult. It’s surprising that the developers neglected to include pointer control as the mouse option for the PC original works far better. With patience, the controls begin to feel more comfortable, but this only adds to your already full plate as you attempt to learn how to cause some pain.

Unlike most other fighting games, Toribash features no health gauges, instead awarding points as you inflict damage on your opponent. If both fighters are standing at the end of the round, the player with more points is the victor, but you can also win if any part of your opponent beside their hands or feet touches the floor or if they land outside of the ring. Playing solo sees you go up against a stationary figure, letting you practise your moves as you like. With a wealth of options allowing you to tailor everything from starting distance to the level of force required for dismemberment, you’d be well-advised to spend a few hours here before heading online.

WiFi play, however, is the real meat of the game. There’s no matchmaking, so you’re just as likely to meet up with a 5th Dan master as you are a white belt scrub, but the balance of planned moves and counter-attacking is brilliantly poised and makes each bout engaging and tense to the last. There’s a ranking system to show your level of skill and experience, and you can save and replay every match to your heart’s content should you succeed in, say, tearing the arms off a stranger at 2 A.M. You can then easily send these to friends or tinker with them from single-player mode, pressing the minus button to jump into the action, a very welcome feature that lets you sharpen each move to a deadly point. You're also able to customise your character, though sadly with not quite as much depth as that seen in designing custom game types.

The visuals are similarly sharp, but their sparse style may not be everyone’s cup of tea. Arterial sprays are really the only splash of colour on the default setting, and until the round is over there isn’t a huge amount of visual spectacle. Some uncomfortable slowdown occurs when rendering complicated ghost predictions, but on the whole there’s little about which to complain. Things are even simpler on the audio end, with only a few grunts and impact noises to accompany your beatings. There’s no music either, so you likely won’t want to break out the headphones for this one.


Toribash is a demanding master, at times completely frustrating and at others joyously fluid, though there’s a steep learning curve augmented in difficulty by some initially awkward controls. Take the time to learn the mechanics and master the controls and you have a potentially limitless array of moves and an enjoyable online mode in which to show them off. Is there enough content here to justify a 1000 point price increase over its free PC brother? The tough answer is no, probably not, but this is still a fascinating and unique WiiWare game that deserves to stand on its own merits.

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User Comments (34)



EdEN said:

Game seems too weird. Might wait to try it on PC and see how it goes from there.



The_Dude1212 said:

I'm definitely intrigued.

I see it as a way to finely tune your own customizable Mortal Kombat fatality finisher, and isn't that the very best part of the MK series anyways?



x10power said:

Seems like a interesting game, I may get this one day when I have some extra cash.



Robo-goose said:

Hm. It sounds good, but I think I'll save the Wii points for something else.
Maybe I'll try it out on a later day.



Ravage said:

I was really excited to get this, but I've decided I would rather the PC version, considering the control issues.



gaminguy said:

I recently bought the game (I've NEVER tried the pc version) and I think the controls aren't that bad, occasionaly I find in issue, but rotating the camera can usually help. By the way, nice review James, I agree on most of it. (I didn't spend hours before online though, more like 30 minutes) I reccomend this to most still and I'd love to face you guys



warioswoods said:

What, the controls aren't pointer-based?!

What a shame. That's pretty much the cardinal sin for porting to the Wii from something mouse-based. I can't buy anything in good conscience if they don't take the system's basic control capabilities seriously. Ah well, just one less game to pick up for me, but what a stupid way to fail in the most important aspect of making a decent port.



irken004 said:

I'd give this a 7 personally, but a 8 is fair. I like the game, but the HUGE learning curve can put people off.



iAmThetot said:

I've had the PC version for a long time and have been a fan waiting for the Wii version for just about as long. I'm glad it's finally out, I picked it up almost right away. My biggest disappointment, by far, is the lack of pointer control as I use the mouse in the PC version. If it had pointer control, I'd personally give it a 9 but as is I agree with the 8.

For those of you putting it off: try the PC version first It is completely free, so what do you have to lose?

It really is a fantastic game. Nearly infinite replay value, well worth 1000 points in my opinion.



SwerdMurd said:

@Prosody - what a kick-ass review man. Seriously--opening line about the freeware-availability and an honest "prob not worth it if you have a PC" statement at the end, despite a good (and deserved as far as it looks/having played the PC version) review. Kudos sir--kudos.



JakobG said:

Doesn't make sense to put it on WiiWare, since you already can get it for free.



Crunc said:

I had presumed that the "PC" version was Windows only, but FYI, there is a Mac version too. So that puts me into the category of folks who think it's odd that this game was released on WiiWare at all. I guess if your only computers are Linux systems it might make sense, though.



Nintendogeek46 said:

I already have it for my Mac, so I see no point in getting it here. Besides, the computer version probably has a bigger online community then this version ever will.



blockhead said:

for all the people saying that you can get it for free on the PC, you also have to think, you can get Cave Story for free on the internet



iAmThetot said:

@ Everyone who is asking why they'd release this on Wiiware:

The game is a little different. There are a few different features. There may be people who prefer the Wii controls. Some people may not have a PC, or may not have a PC good enough to play with shaders on (the Wii version has shaders on).



gaminguy said:

@Iamtheriot-if you don't have a pc, you can't connect to wi-fi connection or even get to the shop channel fo that matter. Even if you COULD get the shop channel and download it, the meat of the game is online, as stated in the review.
(I stilll recommend this title though)



iAmThetot said:

You don't need a computer to get online with the Wii, you just need Wifi. Some people get it just for their Wii. Some people just leech off neighbours.



Crunc said:

I sure am glad I downloaded the Mac versions instead of buying the Wii version. This is another great example of why the Wii so desperately needs download game demos, and universally. The Mac versions I tried for 15 to 20 minutes then put in the trash can and emptied it. I'm sure this game appeals to some, but it doesn't even remotely appeal to me. Please, Nintendo, give us demos for all download games, WiiWare and DSiWare. Sure, you will lose some sales, but you'll also have customers that are happier about their purchases and who will end up buying more games as a result.



Varoennauraa said:

2 stars
Stupid decision to not iclude ir. Very stupid. It would be the same to shoot yourself in the head salesvice.



Boonehams said:

I played (keyword: played, not bought) this game without even knowing that a PC/Mac version existed. After trying to do a single move, I almost completely gave up solely from the controls. Playing it, I literally said out loud, "Why in the crap can't I use the IR pointer? It doesn't make sense not to." I kept screwing up and selecting the wrong joints because I had to basically cycle through the whole body before I got what I wanted and it took so long to do anything. It was so user unintuitive that it frustrated me beyond belief.

I'm a patient man, but after playing this version and learning there's a free, legal version for Mac/PC that uses a mouse, this game's a no-buy for me. A shame, too -- I was willing to pay for it.



lockelocke said:

I love this game. Yes, there is a freeware version of the game available for both Mac and PC. Yes, the WiiWare version lacks IR support. Personally, neither of these points are drawbacks for me, but I get the lack of appeal for some people.

All this aside, Toribash is easily one of the most innovative and groundbreaking games (certainly in the fighter genre) IMO. It plays a bit like a tech demo, and it certainly isn't for everyone, but I highly suggest that fans of RPGs and strategy titles download the freeware version, and if you absolutely love it, hook up the developers and throw them some cash. This is one of the few games I've played lately that lends itself to creativity and totally avoids the common pitfalls of modern games (an over emphasis on visuals and instant gratification). The replay value involved in learning the engine and designing your own moves is nearly endless (some call it a learning curve), and the game actually challenges you, which, these days, is faaarrrr too rare.

I get it, 10 bucks is a bit steep for a white room and 2 stick figures, but if 10 bucks on my end will help to get these dudes to develop more games, I'm in.

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