The Ouya is home to many fantastic local multiplayer games, so thank goodness they're slowly being ported to mainstream consoles. In this colourful brawler, you and your friends fight to the bitter end just to capture a goat to place on your head. Wait, is that right?
Toto Temple Deluxe is simple to the point where anyone who had a controller in their hands at some point in their life could easily learn how to play. You basically run left and right and jump, double-jump, and dash through the air. If you dash into the goat at the beginning of the match then you need to keep moving vigilantly since any of your opponents can snag it away in an instant. To stop this from happening, you can try to repel them with a blast of a shield but that often won't cut it when you have three combatants desperately in need of some goat affection running after you. Maneuvering around the arenas is effortless but some timing skills come in handy if you want to dash with precision. Thankfully, the controls are tight enough that anyone can learn to be a master given a little practice. Overall, this is frantic multiplayer chaos at its best.
Visually, you're treated to a cast of colourful characters and a variety of nice looking temples to battle within. Each combatant is rendered in one of four basic colours. A nifty implementation is that player characters are cute little totem fellows while computer-controlled battlers are odd cubes with one eye and a pair of wings to boot. The goat is also a charming chum complete with a blank look on his face that for some reason makes him all the more rewarding to claim for yourself. When it comes to audio, a pleasant mix of tribal rhythms and cartoon sound effects blend seamlessly together while always matching the onscreen action. You probably won't be amazed by the presentation but it all adds up to form one fun experience. What more could you ask for?
When you get tired of fighting over ordinary goats, you have the option to bring in some explosive ones. In this mode, the goat explodes after a certain amount of time and everyone within the blast radius will be vaporized. Somehow, the player with the goat on their head remains unharmed, but I digress. It's a great way to mix up the gameplay although this is really the only additional multiplayer mode. You can play either of the two modes with teams, but that's about it. Considering there are only eight total arenas, things can get rather repetitive after playing for a while. Even jumping in to a "mystery match" that randomizes the rules eventually doesn't offer that much excitement. That being said, the arenas are pretty cool since they contain many moving parts and hazards that do a great job of forcing you to stay on your toes. I just can't help but wish there were more of them.
Many local multiplayer games fail to offer a single player alternative. However, Toto Temple Deluxe allows you to play against computer-controlled enemies as well as challenge yourself in timed target-smashing challenges for each arena. The artificial intelligence is extremely well done since the higher difficulty settings will have you face some truly formidable opponents. Unlocking pieces of tokens in the target challenges and playing against the tough AI is impressively satisfying and makes this worth a purchase even if you have no friends.
Something that I'm a sucker for is cameos from other games. As you play Toto Temple Deluxe, you'll unlock a vast selection of characters that can be used to replace the goat. Not only are there game characters from such indie titles as TowerFall, Dustforce, Mercenary Kings, and Starwhal, you also unlock cartoon versions of actual gaming personalities. It blows my mind how many there are to discover.
Toto Temple Deluxe is quite an achievement. You'd think that it's all been done when it comes to multiplayer games, yet something as simple as this makes the genre more enjoyable than ever. I'd say the developers definitely deserve goats on their heads.
- + Awesome frantic multiplayer gameplay with tight and simple controls
- + It manages to be fun for just one player, too
- + Loads of wonderful unlockable cameos
- - Could use more arenas and modes to help keep the gameplay exciting