Toonstruck review

The Good:
  • Terrific animation
  • Colorful and entertaining backgrounds
  • Some amusing characters
The Bad:
  • Deadly pacing
  • Who-cares plot
Our Verdict: I’d give this one a pass unless you’re simply a rabid animation fan . . . like I am.

Toonstruck is a big-budget production that centers around a frustrated cartoonist named Drew Blanc (Get it? Har har!!), played by Christopher Lloyd. Drew has created a very successful children’s cartoon show called (and this one actually IS funny) "The Fluffy Fluffy Bun Bun Show." As the story opens, Lloyd’s boss (the always amusing Ben Stein) orders him in no uncertain terms to go create more cute, cuddly, unthreatening bunnies or he’ll get fired.

Drew, of course, dreams of creating a more hard-edged cartoon starring his favorite character, a purple blob named Flux Wildly. After his dispiriting interview with his boss, Drew retires to his studio to ponder his fate. Within moments, I’m sure you will not be too shocked to learn, our hero has been inexorably sucked into the actual cartoon world!

There, to his great surprise, Flux Wildly actually exists, and he is indeed a purple blob . . . and an extremely irritating purple blob, at that, with voice by Dan Castellenata, of Homer Simpson fame, doing his best Charles Fleischer/Roger Rabbit impression.

The plot involves some mildly amusing nonsense about an evil bad guy who’s built an infernal device which he is using to take all of the cuteness out of the kingdom of Cutopia (yes, that’s "Cutopia").

The game is on two disks and neatly divides into two chapters. In the first, Drew and Flux are collecting items to help build a "Cutifier" to counteract the bad guy’s machine. Flux, I’m sorry to report, is Drew’s companion for the first half of the game, which is a traditional "find the right inventory item and use it in the right place" scavenger hunt. There are some entertaining characters on the way, such as a cow who’s into S&M, a gay scarecrow (oh, excuse me, "carecrow"), and obnoxiously cute Fluffy Fluffy Bun Bun herself.

The problem with this part of the game is that it’s extremely conversation heavy, and the conversations are only funny about 10 percent of the time. And even when their funny, they suffer from a peculiar problem: very bad timing. This is supposed to be a comedy, after all, and in comedy timing is everything. Unfortunately, many of the would-be witty exchanges between characters are completely undone by a stultifyingly slow pace. I’m very confused as to how a mistake this fundamental could have been made.

After the "Cutifier" is completed the game has a twenty minute cutscene, and the second half of the game is actually a bit of fun. It involves Drew attempting to escape from the bad guy’s castle. This part of the game actually involves avoiding danger, and some very creative solutions to problems. It’s also immeasurably helped by the absence of Flux Wildly, who’s offscreen until near the very end.

I have to say that the animation is absolutely first-rate, and the wildly colorful backgrounds have a deranged charm. Hardcore animation fans and fans of cartoon games in general will admire the craftsmanship that went into Toonstruck.

Unfortunately, craftsmanship is not always enough to make a game fun. I had a hard time getting Toonstuck, mostly because I simply didn’t care about the plot. Particularly in the first half, my "mission" seemed silly and uninvolving. Plus, the deadly pace of the endless conversations drove me crazy. I wanted to have much more fun playing this game than I ended up having. Call me a killjoy, but I wanted to tune out Toonstruck.


What our readers think of Toonstruck


Posted by rustyiron on Oct 22, 2013

one of the best


Well, I haven't seen such quality since I played Day of the Tentacle and I assure you this one is in the same league. First of all, cartoon graphics are cartoony in the true sense of the word, we talk about warner brothers level here. The performance of...

review

Adventure games by Burst

Toonstruck  1996

As Drew Blanc, animator of The Fluffy Fluffy Bun Bun Show, your life hasn’t turned out exactly as planned.