I love indie games.
As the AAA space becomes more and more homogenised, it’s great to see passion projects that focus on offering fun and oftentimes unique experiences. Even the ones that harken back to a bygone era are usually a labour of love and can bring about those feelings of nostalgia. Games published by Diplodocus Games typically fall into the latter category, with titles such as Knight’s Try and Toree 3D being especially great examples of 3D platformers that pay homage to a bygone era.
The reason why I’m saying all this is because it truly pains me to write an extremely negative review. Even poor games usually have some redeeming qualities but are held back by certain issues that may or may not be fixed with a patch. Felix the Toy DX, on the other hand, is a game that is so bad that it ranks as one of the worst titles on the Switch and perhaps even the worst one I’ve fully reviewed on the site.
Many thanks to Diplodocus Games for the review code, regardless!
FELIX THE TOY STORY
Felix is a sentient toy who is shocked to discover the disappearance of both his owner, Andrew, and the rest of humanity one day. Desperate to find his beloved friend, he sets off on a journey around the town – and eventually into space – in order to find him. It’s a solid enough premise, even if it’s told through some rather ugly text boxes that only appear when you stand on the right pixel below a floating story box.
Each of the game’s twelve stages are presented along a game board that are accessible at any point, complete with their accompanying story blurb. There’s quite a lot of this narrative text, and the inelegance of its presentation combined with the pointlessness of most of it, makes it hard to care and I found myself not even bothering to read some of them after a while. The only parts of the story that really matters to the narrative is the first and final text boxes, but even then the final payoff is so underwhelming that it’s probably not even worth reading any of it at all.
NOT FEELIXING IT
Each of the game’s levels represent an area of the town, ranging from your home, to the supermarket, to even a bowling alley. They’re relatively sizable locations and are filled with a dozen keys scattered around that you have to pick up via a combination of exploration and platforming. Once you collect them all, the game will kick you back into the overworld where you can then proceed to whatever area you want to play next. The overworld is essentially a game board with the levels playable along the way, but there’s no limitation to where you can enter – meaning that you can even go straight to the final stage should you so wish.
Despite the variety of locations, they all contain one thing in common: they’re all extremely ugly. Looking like an amateurish creation from Game Builder Garage, textures are simplistic and laughable, with the best being plain and the worst being hideous abominations seemingly thrown together in MS Paint. To make matters worse, the dreadful camera often clips into the walls and reveals how the game was assembled. Light fixtures are huge spheres, walls are clumsily placed together, and so on. Again, this is pretty standard in GBG and is a result of a limited toolset, so seeing it in a paid title feels a little embarrassing – especially when it happens so frequently.
The only thing worse than the visuals is unfortunately the gameplay. Controls are floaty and not very precise, and often leads to you falling off smaller platforms. To make matters worse, platforming seems like a gamble at the best of times; collision is missing from many surfaces and results in you falling through seemingly solid objects, and then other areas have invisible walls in bizarre places that prevent you from landing on somewhere that you feel like you should. Determining where you can and cannot jump to thusly ends up being incredibly annoying as you work out what exactly you need to do to get each key.
I could go on listing problems with the platforming that I encountered, from getting stuck in the floor to the checkpoints in the final gauntlet being so unreliable that I ended up getting sent back to earlier checkpoints after dying, but none of it really matters. Despite the length of the game being extended in this DX version and having pretty lengthy levels, the game doesn’t actually save any progress. Regardless of whether you leave a level early or if you find everything, the game keeps track of absolutely nothing. It’s all pointless. Thankfully, the aforementioned ability to enter any stage right from the start does mitigate this somewhat, but even that is little consolation when you consider that this final stage is also the jankiest of them all and will have you pulling your hair out in annoyance. It’s hard to say whether I hated the badly designed platforming challenges more, such as a spring section where platforms don’t line up, or just how broken everything is, but either way it’s safe to say that this was one of the worst experiences that I’ve had on my Switch.
I really wanted to like Felix the Toy DX, but from beginning to end I came up against awful platforming design coupled with technical issues and an overall ugliness that not even a mother could love. Whilst the game may be cheap, I would recommend any other 3D platforming game instead. There are so many out there on the Switch, even from the same publisher, so don’t bother wasting your time with this one.