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Toy Shop Package Art
Gameinvest / Seed

Toy Shop

At first glance, Toy Shop looks like a charmingly delightful little package in the same vein of games like Harvest Moon and Animal Crossing. Everything about Toy Shopís packaging seems to reinforce this perception. Unfortunately, actually playing the game reveals the horrible truth of the matter.

Toy Shop is a terrible game; it is poorly made, artistically bland and pathetically boring. That is all you really need to know. Hopefully you have already received the message loud and clear, but if you donít believe it yet, then keep on reading.


The art on Toyís Shopís box and manual possess a level of charm that never shows up in the actual game. The developers were obviously trying for a cel-shaded aesthetic similar to the one in The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, but where Phantom Hourglass was filled with expressive characters and beautiful environments, Toy Shop simply feels flat and uninspired. Characters animate like stiff dolls and the town your character calls home, while colorful, feels completely devoid of creativity.

In the uninspired mish-mash of colors that is Toy Shopís visual presentation, one thing stood out as especially lazy and noteworthy: when talking with a townsperson, a profile picture and a speech bubble will appear on the top screen; however, the character on the bottom screen doesnít always match the one on the top. Only four pieces of character art are available for random townsfolk, even though there are considerably more character models that show up on the bottom screen. You could talk to a variety of different looking women on the bottom screen but always see the same piece of character art on the top. The attention to detail in this area is sorely lacking.


Not much to say here; aside from the usual sound of footsteps and the like, Toy Shop only has two pieces of music, one for the title screen and another for everything else. The best thing that can be said is that the single, in-game track isnít particularly bad, but it grows old quite quickly.


The the real meat of Toy Shop was obviously inspired by Harvest Moon; you inherit a toy store from your grandfather and you have three years to make it successful. In order to win the game you have to make $50,000 in profit, though the game never explains why. The most likely reason is that the townís mayor is a corrupt jerk who enjoys abusing eminent domain; after all, he is the guy who had the town confiscate all of the storeís merchandise after your grandfather died. Why did they mayor do this? That's never explained either.

Anyway, your character and your sister decide to stick around and run the store, a task that proves less fun than an actual retail job, which at least pays out real money. While your sister operates the cash register, you get to build toys: a task as easy as selecting an item from a list of options. The more you build, the better you get at it and more toys become available. At the front end of the store you can arrange your shelves and set the prices on your inventory, something that might be a bit over the head of younger gamers.

Ultimately, running the store boils down to waiting around until customers buy enough of a product for you to build some more to keep inventory up to snuff. You can also go out on the town, but doing so forces you to close down the shop. On top of that, the town doesnít have much to offer; random characters always say the make the same comment about the weather, while more important characters get unique, but just as useless, things to say. The main characterís supposed love interest, for example, actually mentions eating meat... no joke. Also compounding the problem of walking around town is the main character's ridiculously slow movement speed and the occasional game crashes when going from one area to another.

The day-to-day flow borrows heavily from Harvest Moon. Each year consists of four seasons of thirty days each, a couple of which are holidays -- exactly like the aforementioned farming sim. However, Toy Shop does differ from Harvest Moon in two catastrophic ways. First of all, days in Toy Shop are about five minutes long; at nearly twice the length of Harvest Moon days, the overall pace is much, much slower. Second, you are not allowed to go to bed early or work late in Toy Shop. Regardless of how slow business is going you canít call it quits early, and if business is actually good you canít catch up on inventory by working late. Every day is five minutes, no if's, and's or but's!

So let's do the math: three, 120-day years brings us to a total of three hundred and sixty, five minute days. That boils down to a total of thirty hours of boring, repetitive gameplay set to the same, endless song. Ouch.




Hereís the bottom line: Toy Shop is an atrocious game well beyond any hope of redemption. The visuals are flat and uninspired, the music is repetitive and the gameplay is worse than broken -- it is just plain boring. The best thing anyone can say about Toy Shop is that the game crashes donít occur too frequently. Avoid this train wreck of a game at all costs.

final score 1.0/10

Staff Avatar Andy Hoover
Staff Profile | Email
"There's SAND on my boots!"

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