Toybox (universal) by Barrel of Donkeys gives players two simplistic games to play – the challenging part is the games are played at the same time. On the left side is the typical space shooter with players using their left thumb to move their ship out of the way of the enemy’s bullets. On the right side is a match-three game where the aim is to get three blocks of the same color in the row.
The games affect each other, making it even harder to coordinate both. Shooting ships of a certain color will cause that block to appear on the right side. Lining up three blocks of the same color will give the ships power ups and clear the screen of any enemy ships.
The aim is to get the highest score as it will be ranked among the rest of the Toybox players worldwide. Players are also encouraged to add both their Facebook friends as well as their Game Center friends to see who ranks as the best.
Toybox isn’t hard to play but it’s definitely hard to master. I found myself getting caught up in one game or the other my first couple times around, but there’s a rhythm to playing both. Once it’s figured out, Toybox is an enjoyable experience that can become more like a puzzle game than a fast-paced action game.
One thing Toybox got right is its gameplay. This game would get old quickly if it was just the same level over and over again. Instead, the developers create a new level each week for everyone to play. This allows players ample time to get used to the attacking patterns of the ships in the hopes of grabbing the highest score and it’s also just long enough where the game won’t feel stale.
It would be nice if Toybox allowed players to play just the shooting game as practice without the block game on the right as a distraction. It’s a nit-picky point, but also wouldn’t be a hard feature to add.
Toybox is one of the freshest games to hit the App Store in a long, long time. Separately, each game is an old concept. Together, the monster they create is a competition-inducing experience perfect for anyone looking for a new challenge.