Toodee and Topdee is a game that merges the incompatible into something unique. What began as a game jam project has become a really smart little puzzle game.
The aim is simple: guide two characters to the end portal. The twist is that they exist simultaneously in two different perspectives.
As their names imply, Toodee can run and jump from a side-on perspective. Topdee, meanwhile, can run in all directions and push blocks from a top-down perspective.
Toodee, then, thrives on maneuverability around each environment, while Topdee can position blocks to create bridges over gaps or protect from environmental hazards.
Toodee and Topdee. (Diet Zribi)
Changing the perspective on the fly pauses the movement of the opposing character – and sometimes the environment – allowing them to work together to make their way to the exit.
That could be as simple as Toodee pausing mid-jump so that Topdee can position a block beneath them. But soon you’ll need to time your perspective switches carefully and make use of gravity changes to solve puzzles. Keys are also required to open locked blocks, so you’ll need to think about the order you collect them and in which perspective.
Then things really ramp up with some head-scratchers. Each of the five worlds introduces its own twist on the formula. The second world introduces enemies that can’t be killed; instead you can use them to interact with keys or switches for you. Another includes water levels that differ depending on perspective, while later portals must be moved in truly mind-bending ways.
There are bosses at the end of each world too that really test your skills – perhaps a little too much. They certainly make clever use of abilities, but once the pattern to defeat them is learned, they become slightly tedious, especially as one hit to either character is enough to restart.
Later levels are also particularly tricky. The difficulty curve can sometimes be erratic and the logic of each new environmental element isn’t always clear, requiring some trial and error before stumbling on a solution.
Yet when that solution clicks into place, it’s incredibly satisfying. Toodee and Topdee is full of little “a ha!” moments that make it a joy to play.
And if you’re really stuck, there are difficulty options to increase health and add extra abilities to help. It ensures the game is accessible to everyone – a welcome addition.
Toodee and Topdee. (Diet Zribi)
What really adds to Toodee and Topdee is its irreverent humour. There’s a story tying its levels and gameplay together, as worlds collide when the powerful semi-colon is stolen. Toodee is brash and Topdee is naive, but together they must bring the universe into balance once more.
There’s real heart to the delivery too, with its themes of opposites learning to understand each other and become close friends.
With its amusing fourth-wall breaking script and meta jokes about gaming and design, there’s flair to Toodee and Topdee beyond its smart bite-sized puzzle designs and cute retro aesthetic. No matter how difficult it might be, it’s impossible to get annoyed at these adorable characters or fume at the boppy music.
And with some fun twists in the final levels, there’s certainly more room for perspective experimentation in the future.
4 / 5
Toodee and Topdee is available now on PC via Steam.