Toro, the titular character in Toro! Let’s Party, is a little white cat. His one wish is to become human. Luckily, there’s a Crescent-Scarred Cat that can grant wishes. He goes to see him at the full moon, but finds Kuro instead. Apparently the Crescent-Scarred Cat decided to take a trip. Kuro had a wish too, and received a Memory Book from that cat before he left. But, filling it was too difficult, so he gave up and gives it to Toro. If Toro can get enough Memories and Thank Yous to fill the book, his wish to become human will be granted. Toro then sets out on a journey, and Kuro tags along since it sounds interesting. Along the way, they meet lots of new friends and people to help.
There’s one sure way to get "Thank Yous" in Toro’s bright and colorful world, through mini-games. Every person Toro meets tends to have some kind of dilemma, and the way to help them out is to play a game that relates to it. You could end up balancing stuff on Toro’s head, dancing at a festival, playing tennis or even swimming upstream. There are 33 of these mini-games tossed in, so you get a nice assortment of things to play.
In fact, I only found one that I disliked in Toro! Let’s Party the dreaded watermelon game. In this mini-game, Toro is blindfolded on a beach and the goal is to smack a watermelon with a stick to break it open. Players have about a minute to issue directions (right, left and right there) to make him approach and hit the watermelon. Sounds easy, right? Wrong. Toro lurches around and thanks to the atrocious camera angles (I counted four, none of them helpful), hitting the watermelon is an impossible task.
If the camera just stayed situated behind Toro, whacking the watermelon would be fine. Perhaps, even easy. But one minute it’s in front of the watermelon, then to the right, then to the left, then kind-of floating above. It’s atrocious! Three times I thought I had it. Thought. But no. One of the times it even looked like Toro was right over it, but when he brought down the stick he turned 50 degrees to the right and missed.
Thankfully, you don’t need to beat every mini-game in story mode to beat the game. Each page of the memory book has three entries (episodes) with a mini-game. You must pass two to turn the page. Also, after you’ve seen the story segment of an episode once, you can skip if you come back by pressing start. So it isn’t too trying.
Most of the other mini-games are actually quite good and fun, cute even. There are staples like a kart racer, mini-golf, bowling, dancing and more unusual ones like chick flying, heart shooting, tablecloth removing. There are even a few card games. Some even have online leaderboards, if you play them outside of the story mode. The only odd part is some of these games have motion controls needlessly implemented. I enjoyed the dancing games, like the Bon Dance and Punk mini-games, even though they weren’t really rhythm games. The card games are also quite good, even if the computer acts like a dirty cheat sometimes in Fantan. Plus you can never go wrong with classics like bowling, tennis and mini-golf. Racer, the kart racing game, is the exception to that rule though and is disappointing.
The best example of this is a sliding puzzle game. There are eight pieces in a square grid, and Toro must get from one side to a cabin on the opposite side, grabbing a flower on the way. Each tile has a piece of road on it, and you have to shift it around so he walks the road to the house. The best part? (That best is sarcastic, by the way.) You use motion controls to shift the sliding tiles. Plus, it’s timed. It isn’t too bad though – I managed to even beat it in one try, with Toro staying on the same tile almost the entire time.
A built-in gallery keeps track of images and trinkets from all of the other games Toro appeared in. You can even see preliminary sketches and designs. I’ll admit I initially had no interest in the gallery aspects, but after playing through the main story I came back to look at the extras and really appreciated them.
Toro! Let’s Party! is one of the cutest games on the PS3. It’s a fun little collection of games with a story mode that plays like you were watching an animated series. With over 30 games in there odds are, you’re going to enjoy at least a third of them. Besides, if you play, you get to watch Toro and Kuro wave their arms adorably while going, "Nya! Nya! Nya!" Seriously, there were at least three times where I just let the episode segment sit with them failing and meowing because it was just that mesmerizing.
Food for Thought
- Six free PS3 themes are included on the disc, and you don’t even have to unlock them.
- A handful of the mini-games are immediately available and not unlocked in story mode.
- Anytime during play, you can press select to take a screenshot.
- Trophies are incredibly easy to earn, if you want to pad your score.
- There is some Engrish, so be on the lookout for it.
- Toro! Let’s Party! is a prequel that directly ties into Mainichi Issho
- You might want to conisder the Asia best version, as that’s the one that’s cheapest and in English