The weight of expectation can be a terrible thing for a game. When you expect nothing, every moment has the potential to offer a surprise and an unanticipated feeling of discovery, and the original Toree 3D benefited from absolute zero expectations when it launched back in April. Releasing out of nowhere for a bargain basement price, Diplodocus Games served up a very short but exceptionally sweet low-poly platformer. It was rudimentary, yes, but far bigger, far more expensive 3D platformers have failed to nail the fundamentals like developer Siactro did with Toree, and it was a wonderful and very welcome surprise.
Toree 2, a similarly-sized and priced sequel, feels more-or-less like a level pack for the first game (which incidentally got an update with extra levels to coincide with this game's launch), so we recommend reading our mini review of that pint-sized platformer — it's the same hold-'Y'-to-dash 3D platforming deal as before. Describing it as a glorified level pack might sound like a negative, but it's the sort of thing a developer can get away with when they're only charging $0.99 / £0.89, and Siactro does throw in some new elements here.
The addition of green boost gates adds some alacrity to the gauntlets, with collectible stars once again littering the courses. As before, completing each of the eight standard levels (there's more free content on the way soon) will unlock secret characters after you achieve certain times and grab all the stars.
Toree 2 also features a boss battle — a relatively challenging fight that comes at the end of the game's 45-60-minute runtime. While nothing revolutionary, it offers a glimpse of a potential future Toree game with a little more variety than speedrun gauntlets and wall-to-wall eye-searing colour and optimism.
That's what we like about Toree, though — its carefree feeling and easygoing approach. It's unapologeticlly simple and wants nothing more than to delight you for an hour. The little bird wears a fedora in a temple-style level, just because it'll raise a smile. With dozens of hours of dark and dour games available, a colourful shot of Toree feels incredibly refreshing, even if this provides the exact same flavour of polygonal platforming nostalgia as its predecessor. Similarly, it doesn't outstay its welcome, although there’s scope for returning, improving your times and unlocking those characters.
Would we be happy to play another one of these down the line? A game that's essentially another level pack? Based on the evidence presented here, it would be nice to see what Siactro could accomplish with a slightly broader canvas, although goodness knows there are more than enough cautionary tales of ballooning scope hindering the smaller, simpler interactions that make a platformer fun in the first place. We'd certainly play another 'one of these', but we see potential for something more substantial, too — perhaps not a full three-course meal of a game, but a carefully crafted cocktail that expands on the super-charged rainbow-infused shot of platforming the two Torees currently on the Switch eShop offer. The best thing we can say about Toree 2 is that, as with its predecessor, we enjoyed every minute of our time with it.