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Stitchy In Tooki Trouble

Platform(s): Nintendo Switch
Genre: Platformer
Publisher: Polygoat
Developer: Polygoat
Release Date: April 15, 2021


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Switch Review - 'Stitchy in Tooki Trouble'

by Cody Medellin on Sept. 10, 2021 @ 12:00 a.m. PDT

Stitchy In Tooki Trouble is a side-scrolling platformer where you run, jump, slide, slam and glide to find your stolen corn as Stitchy, an athletic scarecrow!

Making a game is tough, but it's even more difficult to create a game that appeals to both kids and adults. There's a balance that needs to be met where the title can be beaten by an audience who's just getting their feet wet with video games while also presenting some sort of challenge for more seasoned gamers. Most titles have trouble accomplishing this while also making the experience fun for both groups. Alas, that's the fate that meets Stitchy in Tooki Trouble.

Considering the genre, Stitchy already starts on the wrong foot by providing a bare-bones story. The Tooki — a band of machines with tiki masks — have invaded the farm and stolen all of the corn. Once they leave, the scarecrow in that field magically comes to life. After quickly getting acclimated to being sentient, the scarecrow decides to chase after the Tooki to get the corn back.

The story works fine as a base, but the game never does anything with it. There are no hints about what the Tooki are doing with the corn until you reach the final stage, where it turns out that they're making popcorn. Beat the game, and there isn't a cut scene or epilogue to close out the narrative. On top of that, Stitchy isn't exactly the most likeable character. His face is devoid of reactions, and his idle animations look worse than what was common during the 16-bit glut of platforming characters.

Stitchy follows the core mechanics well enough. The scarecrow can do both a regular and double-jump, but don't expect any ledge grabs or ducking. Stitchy has no ladders to climb, but chain-swinging is a thing, as is the ability to go through platforms from the bottom up, but not the other way around. Corn is the main pick-up, and getting 100 pieces results in an extra life; you can also grab totem pieces to unlock some secret stages. As for offense, you can kill most enemies with simple stomps, but you can also perform a more powerful ground stomp to kill the tougher foes.

There's not much else to say about Stitchy's mechanics or the levels. The campaign consists of 30 stages split up among three worlds. Those worlds happen to occupy the very familiar biomes of jungles, ice, and fire, and except for a few sections, just about every level has you starting from the left side of the screen and traveling to the right side to hit the goal; there's one checkpoint in the middle to save your progress. Each world contains one minecart stage to break things up, but this is otherwise familiar territory for longtime players, since the game doesn't try anything new.

Familiarity isn't such a bad thing, but it doesn't help that Stitchy doesn't do anything to stir up excitement. The concept of secrets boils down to finding a wooden platform above you or seeking out obvious breakable planks that house other goodies. Your general character movement is decent, but there's no sense of speed. Minecart rides go slow enough that they feel like your standard walking speed, and getting shot out of a cannon later in the game is boring, since it's slow enough to feel like you're floating.

While the overall speed and lack of surprises may bore experienced players, it may work for younger players who are trying to learn and improve in the genre. To that end, some of the other traits that might be seen as negatives tend to work in their favor, such as the decently sized levels and the overall campaign clocking in at around two hours. While the lives don't stack up to absurd numbers as seen in the New Super Mario Bros. series, you'll have plenty to reach the end without seeing the "game over" screen. The game is also rather generous with health. You may only have three hits before a life is lost, but you enter an invincibility state for quite a while after getting hit, and there are even sections where falling into the water or lava for an instant death is ignored, since you can walk on the surface while you're invincible.

For all of the concessions that Stitchy makes to cater to a younger audience, there are elements that seem to actively work against that. For example, most of the totem pieces are usually located on platforms above the player, but the camera never scrolls smoothly to reveal them, choosing instead to jerk up suddenly once the player hits the platform. Grabbing the totem piece elicits fanfare but doesn't freeze the action, so there's a good chance that you'll get hit because you're unaware that you're still in motion as the screen dims and a totem piece flies at your HUD. Strangely, stomping on boxes stops you from going through the column all at once, so you're forced to break each crate one stomp at a time; it becomes more annoying when you reach the end and need to hit the giant crate three times before it breaks. During the mine sections, you'll likely die often due to a combination of sudden input lag and your cart refusing to stay on the track. With the boss battles going long and no checkpoints afterward, what should be the more exciting portions of a platformer feel tedious instead.

There are no additional modes to the game. Without a different difficulty level, the most you can do to extend your time with Stitchy is to collect all of the totem pieces and earn three stars for each level. The fact that you need to collect every single piece in the themed worlds to unlock the one secret stage feels like too much work for such little payoff, but it is better than going after the stars, which gives you nothing in return for snagging them all.

At least the overall presentation is up to snuff. While Stitchy may be boring to look at, the colors in the environment pop enough to make them look stunning in both docked and portable modes, especially with it running at a constant 60fps. This only seems to be problematic during certain boss fights, where the colors for the boss and Stitchy clash, but that doesn't occur too often. Although the game lacks voices, the sound effects are decent, and the music sounds like a blend of different Nintendo platformer tunes mashed together. Some of them don't fit well, such as what sounds like an Irish jig playing during a minecart stage, and there were other instances where the music disappeared, but overall, it isn't too bad.

Stitchy in Tooki Trouble isn't going to be fun for experienced platform players, but there are also several design decisions that prevent it from being a good choice for younger players who want to get into the genre. From an unremarkable character and story to a lack of urgency in most parts, the excitement of a platformer just isn't present here. Combine that with some flaky minecart segments, a too-sticky vertical camera, and overly long boss fights, and you have a title that conjures up more frustration than fun. Despite the nice overall presentation in Stitchy, you can easily skip this one in favor of other platformers that do a better job of catering to both kids and adults.

Score: 5.0/10

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