Toro Reviews

AuthorReview
CoolKidJoe
1,394,878 (942,875)
CoolKidJoe
TA Score for this game: 123
Posted on 23 May 15 at 22:51, Edited on 25 May 15 at 21:02
This review has 24 positive votes and 12 negative votes. Please log in to vote.
This review was originally written by Crandy for CoolKidGaming.com. Some additional media has been removed from this adapted review. Please see CoolKidGaming.com for the original review.

Toro is a bullfighting game from independent developer and publisher Reco Technology. The game is available as a digital only title on the Xbox One, PS4, and PC for $20 USD or regional equivalent. The minute I saw the trailer, I knew that I had to play this game. It had signs of a great bad game, horrible graphics, a strange concept, and little to no publicity prior to launch. Does it live up to my expectations of a best worst game? Is it good, is it bad? Read on to find out.

ToroToro


The basis of the game is simple, you are a matador in an arena fighting a bull using various bullfighting moves. The moves and bulls vary and more of them can be unlocked as you progress through the game. The problem is that the depth of the game ends there. There is nothing else to it. Each bull seems to be identical to the last and there are no other game modes, other than a few poorly thrown together minigames. After playing a few fights I had more or less, experienced everything the game had to offer. However, I think it is still important to provide an in-depth analysis of each part of the experience.

When I first booted up the game, I was presented with a main menu with a few option such as career, minigames, and gallery. Upon attempting to enter any of these modes other than career, I was informed that I needed to play the tutorial before being able to go into any other mode. But, there was no indication of where the tutorial was. Some attempts later, I discovered that the tutorial was part of career and labeled “grassland.”

Upon entering career, I was presented with a customization screen. The number of features that are available for customization are actually quide broad. However, the quality of customization on each of these features is very minimal. The color palettes are both useless and hilarious. They are useless because they almost don't match the corresponding colour on the matador at all. They are hilarious because a number of colours appear to be taken straight from the Google Docs colour palette, ugly, obnoxious greens, blues, and all.

Customization screenCustomization screen

Google Docs colour paletteGoogle Docs colour palette


The grassland levels do not indicate in any way that they are tutorials. The problem is that even when you discover that these levels actually tutorials, they do almost nothing at all to explain how the game works. It very briefly goes over how to perform the moves, insists that you do a variety of moves or risk losing audience approval and score along with it, and some of the instructions it gives are flawed. This assured me very early on that this game was going to be terrible, as I suspected.

There were some more odd things in the tutorial that should be mentioned. It covers timing when explaining the moves. However, nowhere in the game is there any indication of proper timing. This makes both the tutorial and the rest of the game frustrating because timing is learned only through trial and error. A practice mode is mentioned, but it is exactly the same as the main game, other than having audience approval and rage meter bars available. Any kind of guidance or assistance is completely missing, making it essentially useless. One very memorable, flawed set of instructions comes to mind when thinking of the tutorial. There is an instruction to get “a safe distance from the bull.” Logically, I thought that I should move away from the bull. Apparently this game is not logical. This instruction actually means move closer to, not further away from, the bull.



Moving on to the career mode, each level takes place in a new bullfighting arena in various locations across Spain, Mexico, and a few other countries in Europe. I’m not an expert on bullfighting, but the arenas seem to be actual arenas, which is a nice touch to the game. It would be pretty hard for a bullfighting enthusiast to tell though. The graphics are awful and the majority of the audience is actually two dimensional. It looks so bad, it makes it difficult to take anything in the arena seriously. It seems that Reco tried to cover up the 2D audience by adding in a few three dimensional people models standing in the mix. But it is a really bad attempt to cover up the poorly made audience.

The two-dimensional audienceThe two-dimensional audience



The gameplay, like the presentation, is also poor to mediocre. You select a set of up to four unlocked moves for the first and third rounds that you use to taunt the bull. The match consists of four rounds. The first is a taunting round, second the matador attempts to stab banderillas, or large, sharp sticks, into the bull, the third round is another taunting round, and the fourth round is where the bull is killed. You are given two meters. The bull’s rage meter, and the audience’s satisfaction meter. As you increase your combo the rage meter fills. When it is full, a special quick time sequence is initiated. Upon successful completion bonus points are awarded and the rage meter resets. The audience satisfaction meter fills with moves completed, rage sequences completed, and lowers each time the matador is gored by the bull.

When in the arena taunts are performed by locking onto the bull and performing various two-button-press combos. The bull can be taunted causing it to charge you immediately. He will sometimes charge on his own, but it seems inconsistent. The audience satisfaction meter fills as you perform combos and successfully complete rage events. Once it is about 80% full it seems to give some sort of score bonus, but it is very unclear how the mechanic works. The tutorial insists that you must perform a variety of moves to fill this meter. It is not the case, however. The only time it seems to get a significant boost is when a rage sequence is completed. Even if you only perform a single move, it is still easy to fill the audience satisfaction meter.

The first round lasts two minutes. When it is over a quick time sequence occurs. If all button presses are successful, the matador will stab the bull with the banderillas and be awarded bonus points. The third round is another two-minute taunting round with a different set of moves exclusive to the third round. The fourth round is similar to the second. There is a quick time sequence followed by a target that must be aligned with a dot on the bull’s head in order to successfully kill the bull. These quick time events seem completely irrelevant to the action being performed and are laughably easy. I would argue that removing these events and replacing them only animation may have actually made the game better.

From what I played of the game, there is absolutely no variation in each arena’s gameplay, every level in career is exactly the same. Each level has three challenges that along with score, assist in progressing through the career. There is almost no variety in the challenges. They consist only of don’t be gored by the bull a certain number of times, perform a certain number of a particular taunt, or something related to combos.

I have many issues with career, both in the gameplay itself and the oddities of the game. The gameplay is horribly repetitive. If you have played one level in career, you have played the entire game. The timing and pickiness of moves makes becoming good at the game, incredibly frustrating, if not impossible. If there was some sort of indication of how timing and execution of the moves work, the repetitive nature of the game may be offset by the satisfaction of mastering the moves. Additionally, there is very little penalty for being gored by the bull. You are knocked over and lose a combo, but that is all. You cannot be injured in any way, lose, or fail the match.



As for oddities in the ring, the audience satisfaction meter looks like one of the developers just took a picture of his hands and used it as the icon. It is very strange. When the rage meter fills, this odd sequence plays where the screen spins and stretches for some strange reason.

Audience satisfaction iconAudience satisfaction icon



There is no music at all during the fight. The only sounds are the absolutely terrible background noises and sound effects. The audience noise is a low quality loop of awful sound that is about four seconds long. It is reminiscent of early Rollercoaster Tycoon games, though they have even less variety in the sound. The underwhelming audience makes the sound even less believable. Sounds effects for getting gored or taunting are ridiculous. Being gored is a ticking noise, similar to the tick in the menus when choosing between options. Taunting is a weak grunt that is just awful. Lastly, when the audience satisfaction meter is filled, a carnival like tune is played briefly. It’s very strange to me that the only time any music is played during the fight is for a brief time when the audience meter is filled. It is very difficult to describe how truly terrible these sounds are, so I have included a video below that contains all sounds mentioned in this review.



In addition to the main bullfighting mode, Reco threw in a couple of minigames. Unfortunately these minigames are both bizarre and awful. The first one is the bull throw minigame. You play as the bull in this game and your job is to throw the matador as far as possible by tapping two buttons and choosing a throw angle. Each game lasts about ten or fifteen seconds and has about as much depth as a piece of paper. This game adds, at most five or ten minutes of content to the game.

The second minigame is the bull run minigame. Again, you play as the bull, but this time your job is to run through as many doors as possible. You steer slightly with the left stick and press a button to ram the door. Strangely, this minigame actually has a backing music track. This is the only other place in the game that has music other than the main menu and the career menu. The music is actually appropriate for the game and not completely terrible. It’s a shame that it wasn’t utilized more in the core component of the game, as it could have been beneficial. The run game is not as bad as the bull throw game, but still adds little to no value to the game.



The last extra in the game is the gallery. It is odd to say the least. The suits are mostly as expected, but the strange portion comes from the arena and bull galleries. The bull gallery has the bull poorly placed on a pedestal that can be rotated. I can’t put my finger on it, but something about it is off. The weirdest component though, is the arena gallery. You would think that it is possible to actually load and view the arenas. That is not the case. You can only view the low resolution pictures that are present in career mode and read the short description about the area. When I stumbled across this gallery, I couldn’t help but wonder what the point of even including it was.



The last component of the game that need to be discussed is the bull’s package. Yes, the bull’s package. Each bull has a surprisingly detailed set of genitalia. It seems like Reco spent more time focusing on package animation than any other component of the game. In fact, it is the second most detailed package I have seen in a video game. The most detailed being Lucifer from Dante’s Inferno. His package was quite detailed. I understand that the bull’s package is part of the bullfighting experience, but it probably has the best animation in the game, which is rather ridiculous to me.

See CoolKidGaming.com for package related media.

In conclusion, Toro is poorly made, is torture to get through even half of the career, is unbearably repetitive, looks awful, and is full of oddities. The customization has breadth, but falls short on depth. The real question though, is it worth the money? Absolutely not. $20 for this game is ridiculous. The game has maybe two to four hours of content if you really hate yourself, and is not quite bad or ridiculous enough for even the most dedicated bad game enthusiasts like myself. However, if you are really into bull packages, you may enjoy it more than most.

I give the game two out of five floating bull packages. It is bad, but did not contain enough of the great bad game elements to make it a best worst game. As for a traditional rating, I give the game 1.5/5. There is just not enough content in the game to make it worthwhile, and the little content that is there is heavily flawed. It has some features that seem like they could have been okay. Most of the gameplay mechanics are flawed, but not enough to make the game completely unplayable.

The author managed to suffer through three hours of Toro, earned 11 of the game’s 25 achievements, and personally bought the game. All gameplay was done on a dummy account, which is why the game does not appear on the author’s tag, due to an achievement that currently appears to be unobtainable.
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