Automatoys review – “Tactile fun from days long past”

When the servers go down and the power goes out, it’s almost impossible these days to find a toy to tinker with until your internet connection comes back up. Back then, tabletop toys were all we really had, and in Automatoys you have a rare opportunity to turn back time to the simpler days of tactile fun – clicks and clacks included.

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Automatoys looks (and feels) absolutely gorgeous like a real toy, made out of cheap plastic and full of nostalgic vibes. The graphics capture the essence of these seemingly simple yet complex mechanics, optimized for mobile, and all you have to do is tap the screen to literally get the ball rolling.

Each machine or level has a single goal of getting your ball from point A to point B, but all the obstacles along the way are so carefully designed that you really have to pay attention to every single lever, screw, flipper and lever rotating circle thing. The variety of mechanisms to figure out and experiment with over time really speaks to your inner child, who is wide-eyed and curious and laser-focused on finding out what this shiny new thing does or doesn’t do.

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In that sense, the visuals are so damn effective that you feel like you’re playing with a physical toy as opposed to just pixels on a screen.


When it comes to the actual mechanics, the first three levels start off with easier what-have-yous, while the rest of the game requires $2.99 ​​or your local equivalent to unlock. There are only 12 levels in total, with each new machine offering something fresh and exciting to tease your brain cells.

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Tapping the screen lets you navigate intricate paths, whether that’s pitching a ramp or practicing the art of precise timing with mini catapults. The puzzles naturally come with frustrations, as one wrong move can send you falling into the abyss where you’ll have to start all over again. These can either make you ragequit, or get you back on track with a more determined perspective – either way, you can aim for three stars if you’re a completer, or keep going by simply progressing from one level to the next.

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The tactile experience is really the star of the show here. There were many times I’d tilt my phone and crane my neck to see if I could flip the thing around like I was doing a real toy. It’s that kind of immersion that makes the game shine – although I wish you could freely move the angle to get a better perspective of where your ball is flying.

Luckily, with the first free levels, you can easily check if it’s your thing. The casual, physics-based puzzler also serenades you with a lo-fi soundtrack playing in the background (which you can listen to on Spotify). So if you’re looking for a nostalgic pastime, Automatoys might be worth the extra penny.

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