Toast Time: Smash Up! from Force of Habit is gloriously weird. Spotlighting the adventures of Terry (which stands for Toast-Ejecting Recoil and Reload system)—a spring-loaded toaster with a penchant for breakfast. The goal is to maneuver Terry through each level, blast the enemies and protect the clock until it goes off. The premise is simple, but the backdrop is zany as can be. How do you like your toast?
The play control is tricky at first, but the more you play the game, the more adept at controlling our little toaster friend you become. The concept here is quite simple—Terry can only move by using the momentum of his own weapon firing. He can be frozen in place briefly to reorient himself or to easily line up his next shot. It seems a bit floaty at first, but that is the intent. Using these abilities helps Terry complete various puzzles and challenges in each level. Terry can also rack up points and enter a hyper mode called coffee time, which will help ease the difficulty of each level. Speaking of levels, there are over 50 in the game, each with a clever name. Most of them are typically a breakfast-related pun like “Out of the Frying Pan,” “The Breakfast Club,” “One Lump or Two,” “The Cereal Aisle” and, well…you get the idea.
My favorite level is “Terry Smash,” in which you shoot Terry to the top of the stage only to let him fall and smash into the ground. The impact of his belly flip causes a load of stalactites to fall from the ceiling to obliterate every enemy. The unique ways of winning each level are a nice touch.
I love the subtle humor throughout the game (“Breakfast has been cancelled,” “Go take a shower”) and the fun costumes Terry unlocks as he achieves high scores. The weapons— unlocked by shooting crates in each level—are a clever, bread-based arsenal. Nothing beats firing deadly bread crumbs or the Contra style spread gun comprised of bagels. The humor and quirkiness are prevalent through the entire adventure.
The game is well-programmed and incredibly addictive. The challenge inherent in many of the levels—mostly by virtue of the unique character movement—makes the game enjoyable and engaging, rather than tedious (as some games of this genre are often found guilty of, especially late in the game). The challenges are intricate and simple at the same time. For instance, there will be certain levels where Terry possesses limited ammunition and must simultaneously navigate a treacherous puzzle while battling the breakfast baddies. It’s just good level design that draws you back time and again to beat your own high scores/level ratings.
The visuals are a mix of retro and modern graphics. Levels have a single color associated with them. Blue for level one, green for level four, red for level five and so on. The backgrounds are minimal, with line drawings used to represent houses, farms, windmills and other structures. It possesses a quaint charm, fondly reminding me of hours spent playing games on my Atari 7800, NES and DOS/Windows 3.11 PC in my youth.
The music in the game is frantic and composed well. It does a good job of setting the mood of each level. The sound effects are the typical bleeps and bloops one might expect from a similar game made in the glory days of 8-bit gaming. It’s a cool retro throwback that I enjoyed immensely during my first run of the game.
In addition to the main game, there’s a panic mode and several unlockable costumes. These are cool, but pale in comparison to the main adventures of Terry the Toaster. By the time I finished the game, I’d died numerous times, but never truly became frustrated—something I look for in panic/shooter style games. I also found that I could place Terry in a certain section of the stage and simply hammer the “fire” button to win many of the levels. The only thing I didn’t enjoy here is the Switch’s rumble function. I couldn’t find an option to disable it during the game.
The breakfast humor/jokes/references are one of my favorite aspects of the game and much like eating breakfast, you’ll want to play Toast Time: Smash Up every day. I guess you could say this game never gets stale…
Toast Time: Smash Up Review
Final Thoughts: GOOD
Toast Time: Smash Up is a delicious bread battle of tasty proportions. The retro aesthetics and zany gameplay make for a fun experience on the Switch.
Based in Colorado, David Buck is an author, musician, and media specialist. In his spare time, he composes music, writes science fiction, and builds scale models, mostly starships and movie cars.