Browse through the list of available OUYA titles and you’ll immediately find yourself surrounded by many, many local co-op games. Early adopters have been enjoying couch co-op with games like TowerFall and BombSquad for a while now, while recent adopters are probably more familiar with the pixely frag-fest Duck Game, or the unexplainable Amazing Frog? The Swindon Space Program.
Known for developing one of the best OUYA titles in Knightmare Tower, as well as the browser game Burrito Bison Revenge, developer Juicy Beast Studio has just given fans of local co-op yet another reason to own the OUYA, with Toto Temple Deluxe.
The concept is simple: Get the goat. Hold the goat. Score points. That’s basically it. Like the games mentioned above, Toto Temple Deluxe is extremely easy to pick up and play, but it’s also deceptively simple in its design. You and three of your friends control tiny figures of varying color, fighting for goatal supremacy in order to earn 3,000 points before anyone else in a best 2 out of 3 format. The longer you hold the goat, the more points you’ll earn, but it’s all about risk versus reward.
The small figures you control are nimble, able to dash in four directions at great speeds, as well as double jumping to higher platforms, but you’ll lose all of that once you lift your bleating buddy above your head in an attempt to score points. You can still perform a single jump and even deflect attackers with a well timed button press, but otherwise you’re a sitting duck unless you can bait and lure other players in to chasing you around the arena. Thankfully that’s made easier by Toto Temple‘s evolving level designs, which you can easily play to your advantage once you’ve become more familiar with your surroundings.
Arena’s in Toto Temple Deluxe offer a variety of cave settings, allowing you to challenge your friends underwater, blast yourselves with volcanic eruptions, or even destroy large portions of the environment with your dash ability. My personal favorite was Bubble Babble, an underwater arena that removes platforming and instead forces you to swim. I liked that it changed the way the game was played, but also enjoyed how large chunks of the arena would close in around us, making it equal parts chaotic and claustrophobic. As time goes on in any level, specific platforms will rise and fall, providing a chance for the goat carrier to out maneuver their pursuers, or perhaps corner themselves by mistake. Those not carrying the goat can steal it by dashing the current holder and begin earning points for themselves.
Dashing isn’t the only way to disrupt someone’s flow either, as Toto Temple features a handful of power-ups to use, like explosives, freezing bombs, and multi-directional laser blasts. Non-goat holders can also earn points by collecting coins that spawn from stolen goats or hidden coin pouches, so it’s up to you to decide if you want to risk your mobility for a higher point gain, or play the field and go for power-ups and coins instead. Certain levels favor the goat over the coin though, especially once you become familiar with how each arena moves. Once you’re comfortable, it becomes more ideal to steal it from your friends and barricade yourself between moving platforms for an easy win, but chances are they have the exact same idea.
Those looking to form alliances while risking friendships can jump in to team battle mode, providing potentially hilarious (or potentially violent, I suppose) 2v2 or 2v1 match-ups. You can also run solo in training mode to get your feet wet, popping targets to earn coins instead of handling goats. This mode can be played with one of your friends as well, where you’ll work together at scoring as many points as possible, but it provides the only single player mode in the game. I wish they would have added the option to play against A.I. bots to give me something to do while my friends weren’t around, and the absence of that feature was a bit disappointing.
Graphically, Toto Temple Deluxe is vivid and crisp. Dark outlines of characters and platforms made it impossible to get lost within the backdrops, letting my lack of skill draw a loss rather than confusion about my positioning. Every arena is complete with their own themes, which are all well designed and animated from a technical standpoint. It’s the type of artistic quality and style you’d expect from the developer of Knightmare Tower, but Toto Temple Deluxe definitely stands on its own.
We’re still new to our OUYA console and haven’t yet had the chance to dive in to the plethora of couch co-op options, but Juicy Beast Studio has struck gold with Toto Temple Deluxe. If you’re looking for a game to pick up and play when your friends are around, it’s worth every penny, especially when you consider what a room full of shouting, potentially drunk, grown adults would sound like.
If you’re a fan of other arena combat games like TowerFall and Duck Game, this one might be up your alley as well, but I found it to be more similar to the Wii U‘s indie title Chasing Aurora. Of course it’s more a domination style of play over peppering your friends with buckshot, or feathering them with arrows, but there is definitely a lot of fun to be had if you have the company.
Those running solo should know that your mileage will vary, as you’re losing out on a huge part of what makes the game so much fun, but even if you have younger siblings or relatives visiting, it’s easy enough to pick up and play so you can show them the ropes. It’s the perfect blend of accessibility and fun that bridges the gap between casual and avid gamers, and if your friends like to meet up, even if just on rare occasions, you should push this to your OUYA immediately. Get the goat. Get points. Have fun.
Bradley Keene is the Executive Editor here at What’s Your Tag?, generally handling reviews, public relations, and our social media communications. He’s an aspiring video game journalist, Baltimore native, and on again/off again WoW player that favors roguelikes, horror games, and point-and-click adventures. His favorite console is the Dreamcast, favorite game is the original Metroid, and he could watch The Goonies for the rest of his life. Contact him by e-mail at the address above, or follow his insanity on Twitter.