A couple months ago, I was browsing Steam, bored of neglecting my massive Steam backlog, looking for any new creative indie games that might be interesting or fun to play. Thanks to the numerous crazy Steam sales, I’d all but depleted the major indie hits on that platform, and was looking for more.
That’s when I came across Tommy Tronic, a peculiar looking platformer developed by Oasis Games and published by Interplay. It didn’t look particularly mindblowing, but the game looked solid enough, and I think most importantly, showed some creativity and imagination, something most games these days are sorely lacking.
Well, I’ve finally managed to play through the twelve large levels, and I must say, my initial impressions were spot-on. It’s not going to revolutionize video games, but it certainly is entertaining enough to keep your interest for at least half the game.
In Tommy Tronic you play as, you guessed it, Tommy Tronic, a imaginative poindexter that’s often picked on because, hey, that’s what kids do. Your dog, Yapz, has been kidnapped by a junior evil genius, for seemingly no reason whatsoever, and your job is to traverse various landscapes and bizarre enemies to get your best friend back.
To do so, you’ll need to search each of the twelve areas to find keys and passageways to get to the portal that’ll transport you to the next level. It’s pure, standard platforming, moving platforms and all, and it works well enough. The jumping mechanics feel a tad bit too floaty, and once you jump forward, it’s a little awkward to control Tommy in the air, but it never really frustrated me too much.
What can be frustrating though is not realizing that there aren’t an a equal amount of keys for doors; often times you’ll figure out that you wasted a key on a door that was completely inconsequential, so you’ll have no choice but the restart the level and trudge through the whole level to once again use your key for another door. This happens far too often than it should, especially for a game that’s supposedly aimed at children. While I’m sure it’s to teach some sort of lesson, in the end it feels like it discourages the player by making them repeat the entire level.
Platforming isn’t all you’ll do though, as you do have weapons on hand to take care of any enemies in your way. Your standard armament is the good old ping-pong gun with infinite ammo, with power-ups found throughout the levels.
Which is great, because the enemies can be quite plentiful. With weirdos ranging from anthropomorphic vegetables to passive-aggressive giant mosquitos to voodoo wizards, you’ll spend a surprising amount of time gunning down all the baddies, especially for a platforming game. Considering some of them drop keys, it’s almost a necessity.
And really, that’s just about all you need to know about the game. Each level introduces a couple curveballs, but ultimately, you’re still grabbing keys and heading for the exit, even to the very end when you finally rescue Yapz. The lack of variety definitely hurts the game; halfway in the repetition really started getting a hold of me, to where I was reduced to playing intermittent half-an-hour sessions at a time, to prevent game fatigue.
Still though, it’s a game worth checking out, if only to support the developer and his vision. From what the one and only developer, Nick, told me months ago, the entire game was inspired by his son and his imaginative adventures in the wild. Perhaps that’s why I refused to become bored by Tommy Tronic; that sense of passion and love in the game was more than enough to convince me that this was a game worth playing. If anything, I hope Tommy Tronic sells well enough for a proper sequel with more variety and tighter platforming mechanics, in the same delightfully imaginative universe.