Formed in 2005 by Daniel Coleman and Robert DeMaria, Semnat Studios is a tiny little development company that started off crafting smaller PC projects, one of which eventually grew into Eduardo the Samurai Toaster, the company's first console title, courtesy of Nintendo's WiiWare platform. It's a simple 2D shooter starring a toaster with a top knot, doing battle against the mixed hordes of various vegetables and square-shaped creatures that remind me of Pop Tarts.
We stuck a fork into Eduardo and rattled it about in order to see what came out of Semnat's first offering
Not Much: While there wasn't much that I truly enjoyed about Eduardo the Samurai Toaster, a few of the game's finer points to deserve some merit. Particularly the background art for the game's various levels. Consisting of a mix of lovely composite images, the background art for Eduardo deserves to be in a much better game. I also have to give developer Semnat Studios kudos for their multiplayer implementation, managing to inject bit more fun into the game by adding 1-3 friends to the equation.
Toast and Re-Toast: From the nifty, hand-drawn look and feel of the screenshots we've been seeing, I assumed that there was really going to be something special about Eduardo the Samurai Toaster on a game play level. Unfortunately I was completely wrong to assume. Eduardo is a simplistic side-scrolling shooter with repetitive enemies that grows tiring after the first few levels, when you notice that the bosses are repeating. They continue to repeat, and despite a few levels that mix things up by adding an element of self-scrolling, the whole experience is as flat as whatever it is Eduardo is supposed to be killing.
Who? When? Why?: When the main selling point of your video game is a catchy name, you might want to focus a bit more on developing the story behind said name. Why is Eduardo the samurai toaster? What is his motivation for going through the game's levels, hurling weapons at bees and various assorted rectangular objects that could either be toaster pastries or playing cards? The bland, repetitive game play might have been salvaged a bit had we been given some sort of insight into why we were subjecting ourselves to bland, repetitive game play.
It's really hard for me to come down hard on Semnat Studios. After all, they are basically a couple of guys who joined up with a couple of other guys in order to develop a WiiWare title based on a PC game they've been fiddling around with for years. It's a feel-good story, and one that highlights the ease of accessibility of Nintendo's platform for up-and-coming developers. Unfortunately, Eduardo also feels exactly like a game that was created by a small group of guys with limited resources, and that's one the major obstacles a developer needs to overcome in order to deliver a successful independent game. Eduardo feels like a glorified flash game, and that isn't the sort of title that is going to bring in large amounts of Wii points.
Eduardo the Samurai Toaster lures you in with an intriguing title and some equally intriguing art design, but delivers little more than crumbs once you turn it upside-down and give it a good shake.
Eduardo the Samurai Toaster was developed and published by Semnat Studios for WiiWare. Released on June 15. Sells for 800 WiiWare points. Completed all levels on default difficulty setting and played through multiple levels via 2-player co-op.
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