Roger Rabbit this ain't - Let's Play Toonstruck

The Story…
Toonstruck is a point-and-click adventure game released in 1996. The game follows animator Drew Blanc who, in the midst of an all-nighter, finds himself suddenly drawn into the cartoon kingdom of Cutopia, which is under attack by the evil Count Nefarious. Drew is tasked with journeying across three cartoon lands to find the means to stop Nefarious’ plans in their tracks.

Will Drew be able to stop Nefarious and get back home? And most importantly, will Drew be able to met his deadline before his boss finds out? Tune into Toonstruck to find out!

The Game…
Toonstruck was developed by Burst Studios and produced by Virgin Interactive. The game is a veritable ‘Who’s who’ of voice acting. If you’re a child of the 90s, be prepared to hear a lot of familiar voices.

The LP…
Bringing you this LP is GenghisKait and myself. I’m in the driver’s seat this time, while Genghis is going in blind. We’re playing the Steam release of the game, which came out in 2016.

Toonstruck is fairly free-form, aside from certain parts of the game there’s no particular order that we have to follow. The route we’re going to be showing in the LP is the one laid out in an original copy of “Toonstruck: Official Hints and Solutions”, released along with the game in 1996. There are efficient ways to get through the game, and then there’s this LP. My hope is that I’ve shown off the majority of dialogue, and presented all the puzzles in a way that allows the viewer to follow along, rather than jumping straight into the solutions each time.

With all that said…
I’m going to include a :tw: for this LP. This is a 90s era computer game and as a result this game contains some 90s era comedy/tropes that feel pretty dated nowadays (Such as the use of stereotypes, some ableist language, and some attempts at gross-out humour). In spite of these elements, I feel like Toonstruck has some memorable elements to it, and I hope that everyone is still able to get some enjoyment out of the LP.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9
Part 10
Part 11
Bonus Footage
Toonstruck 2 Creepypasta


I’m incredibly excited about this, was just thinking a ton about this game and how great it is. This is the only adventure game I have personal experience with from playing it with a friend back in the 90s, though that does give me some rose-colored glasses.

I never realized it looked so compressed and low-res, it’s as sharp as a Saturday morning cartoon in my memory. Too bad, everything’s clearly hand-drawn and could still look great if only they had the disk space to preserve their assets as they were originally drawn.

Also unfortunate that it leads with all the most irritating characters. It gets better as you move away from the heart of Cutopia, but for now we’ve gotta rely on Flux’s snark to get through.

1 Like

Glad to hear it! I’ve been wanting to cover this game for a long while. I’m both an animation fan and a 90s kid, so I really get a kick out of hearing all these 90s era voice actors.

To be fair to Toonstruck, the game does look a bit better when you’re playing it yourself, but unfortunately the original resolution is so tiny it doesn’t really mesh well with recording/putting videos up on youtube. Mind you, someone more tech savvy than me might be able to figure out a solution (I am not tech savvy in the least, so it’s a miracle I manage to use OBS to record in the first place).

Allegedly, they are working on a re-mastered version of Toonstruck (Presumably something akin to the Day of the Tentacle Re-mastering that came out a while back), but unfortunately it seems to be stuck in a bit of development hell. Apparently it’s both a financial issue and a copyright one. The last update came out in 2014, so I think at this point it’s unlikely that it’ll ever come to fruition.

I really enjoy the later parts of Toonstruck at lot, particularly (End game spoilers here) Drew’s solo escapades in Nefarious’ castle at the end of the game. These early parts are definitely going to be a bit rougher as we stop to chat with everyone/work on collecting items, but once we pick up steam Toonstruck gets a bit more palatable!

Part 2 is here!. We check out some of the sites and sounds of Cutopia’s main street!

1 Like

Part 3 has arrived! We continue to roam around Cutopia, finishing off all there is to see in the town before exploring the countryside. Note, this episode is the one I was thinking of when I wrote my :tw: in the main description, so be aware there are 90s era stereotypes and ableist language from the game in this part).

Also in this episode we mention @Fiendly’s Splatterhouse Let’s Play! If you’re up for an LP with a fair bit of blood and gore, I’d really recommend checking this one out by clicking the link below:

Fiendly’s Let’s Play of Splatterhouse (2010)

1 Like

Woah, I’ve been shouted! Out, even! At first I couldn’t fathom how Splatterhouse had intersected with Toonstruck, didn’t even figure out the obvious Jim Cummings connection until it came up in the video.

The outskirts of Cutopia has some of my favorite characters. B.B.'s voice and misuse of fancy words is great, it’s like everyone knows better than to correct him because he’s so threatening, but also oddly charming. The Carecrow may be a stereotype, but he’s out there living his best life without any concern for the judgement of others. He’s plenty judgemental himself, though, and his dream of becoming a fashion fascist has me glad he found his calling already. My favorite character in the game is Marge the cow, for reasons that were only hinted at, but her utterly singular focus on making butter in this interaction was also a delight.

I didn’t remember Flux revealing himself to be an edgy thoughtless internet commenter like that, but that’s rose-colored glasses for ya. I guess that means Drew’s greatest aspiration in life was to make… an Adult Swim show? Kinda sad when you think about it like that.

Yeah, I’d agree Carecrow seems like a generally nice dude… though if he had his way he’d probably kick me out of the kingdom for my inability to dress myself like an adult.

Flux is described in the official guide as “Drew’s unofficial id. He blurts out anything Drew is thinking - and beyond”. I kind of like to think of it as Drew having to team up with his something akin to his teenage self. Drew’s matured and moved on from his old ways of thinking, while Flux has stayed the same, leaving Drew to call Flux out a few times.

As we kinda mention with Fluffy Fluffy Bun Bun, I kinda wish we got to examine Drew’s relationship with his creations more. I think there’s some potentially interesting scenes that could’ve come up. Maybe seeing Fluffy and Flux in action causes Drew to reflect on himself and his career? Maybe he questions how much of himself is reflected in Flux?

If nothing else I’d liked to have seen some commentary from Drew regarding how FFBB and Flux act in ‘real life’, and how meshes with his idea of them in his head. Mind you, maybe the whole reveal of Fluffy Fluffy Bun Bun being an evil mastermind is indicative of Drew’s subconscious feelings about them?

I get the impression that Drew knocked out Bun Bun basically overnight - the way his boss is demanding he do with this new rabbit - to cash in on a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it opportunity to pitch a show to his studio. His pet project, Flux, was too risky and anarchic, so he came up with a generic, marketable cutesy thing to get a foot in the door (compare Phi Foglio’s artwork for the Magic: The Gathering card “Killer Bees” to literally all the other artwork he’s ever done for the game). So he seems so disconnected from Bun Bun because she’s not really his the way Flux is. So, given that this thing he created as a stepping stone has ballooned out of control and devoured his existence I actually kind of want to see some evidence that he resents her a bit (aside from that remark you spoilered).

Personally, you know what else I’d like to see? I’d like to see more of Drew’s ideas. This world is clearly a thing apart from Drew’s brainscape. As a guy with a vague creative streak and a bunch of friends in the same boat I’ll tell you: It’s not usual to just have one idea ever and nurse that until it finally finds success; we have buttloads of ideas, some of which fit together to varying degrees and some of which even fit together with one anothers’ ideas to varying degrees. I think it would make for a much more engaging world if everything was at least half-familiar to him; “here’s the Big Bad Wolf from Janie Dudlin’s “fractured fairy tales” treatment, Ms. Fit the costumer there is from my friend Marcus Skritch’s saucy teen comedy, look at all these things in Zanydu that I planned for the Flux Wildly show!” Maybe instead of the obnoxious Bricabrac the royal scientist is an immigrant from a sci-fi idea Drew kicked around for a while and then shelved when Bun Bun took over his life, or Count Nefarious is the villain of a Gummi-Bears-esque piece he intended to spin off of Bun Bun for older kids. The world would be way more engaging if it was a semi-recognizable mish-mash of cartoons and ideas he was familiar with or had created himself, than just this nonspecific cartoon world where his most commercially successful creation and his most personally significant creation happen to live more or less by coincidence. And, gameplay-wise, that would actually make for a decent hint system; Drew sort of remembers how this worked/was intended to work in its original form, and now he’s trying to talk himself through it to get the rest of the details right.

1 Like

Very well put, I whole-heartedly agree with your entire post. I’m familiar with a former animator, and he’s very up-front about how in the early days of his career, he and his buddies would crank out whatever they could to afford meals. His favourite example to use were designing the backgrounds for the Care Bears TV show, as the characters live in a cloud city. Pumping out a bunch of cloud filled backgrounds meant they could afford to eat good that month. I imagine Drew was initially ecstatic over the success of Fluffy Fluffy Bun Bun, if only from a financial standpoint (And as you said, the likely belief that it’d be a stepping stone for his career).

If I had to guess, I imagine the world of Toonstruck is meant to be a generalized reflection of cartoons at the time, but you’re right in that it would’ve been more interesting and unique if it was a cartoon world seen through Drew’s filter. Cutopia, the cultural centre of the cartoon world, should appear to be a happy-go lucky wonderland, but there’s a depressing underbelly to it that reflects Drew’s disenchantment with the series (While also commenting on his dependence on the ongoing success of Fluffy Fluffy Bun Bun, and his need to keep up appearances for the sake of his job).

Zanydu could be more of a reflection of Drew’s early days in his career, where he was full of spit and vigour and pumping out ideas left and right, ideas that went unfinished and lack any direction. It’s a fun place to be, for a while, but stay too long and you realise no one has any future, and existence is just a flash in the pan before you become a forgotten idea. Flux is alive and well because he’s the one idea that Drew has clung to all these years.

The Malevoland’s could be a reflection of Drew’s intense bitterness at anything cute and fluffy, him going overboard trying to work out his aggression, and it bites him in the butt now that he’s trapped in a world of his own creation. Maybe Nefarious’ henchmen are failed drawings of Drew’s, and they’re out for revenge for their incomplete state. And given how many failed drawings an animator comes up with over the course of their career, there wouldn’t just be three of them, there’d be an entire army of them, all out for Drew’s head. Nefarious himself is essentially Drew, but a version of him that gets to live out his fantasies of doing away with all the cutesy stuff that’s defined his career (Which, maybe this is what the game is trying to do, but if so it doesn’t come across very well, Nefarious’ goals are never connected to Drew in any meaningful way).

You know what’d be interesting? Seeing some of Drew’s characters from childhood. Guaranteed he has a few. They’re the reason why he wanted to be an animator in the first place, maybe they’re the only truly happy creation he has in his mind, since they were drawn just for his own enjoyment as a kid.

If anything, if Toonstruck wanted to stick to making a riff on cartoons in general, they could’ve pushed it a bit more. They cover a pretty narrow scope, it’s themed more around tone than anything else, because everything still has a very 90s style to it. I would’ve liked to have seen other decades represented. They could’ve shown silent cartoons ala the early 20s, Hanna-Babera themed toons, UPA themed toons… A UPA toonworld in particular could’ve had some interesting puzzles themed around perspective I think, given the stylized they used).

I like Toonstruck for what it is, but it definitely could’ve been taken in a different direction that would’ve been really interesting to see (In my opinion).

1 Like

Like, I don’t even necessarily want it to be things Drew created (although your ideas for how the different segments of the world could map to Drew’s relationship with his work are pretty good)? But I definitely want Drew to recognize the things he’s seeing. I’m sure your friend will tell you that animators do not exist in a vacuum; they watch other animated shows all the time, this is what they do for a living, it’s not just likely they will but important that they SHOULD be aware of what their industry is up to. Regardless of what interpretive schema you’re looking at it through there ought to be at least a few elements that are familiar to Drew, if only in broad terms. I agree that I like the game for what it is, but I also agree that it could have been a lot more than it is.

1 Like

Part 4 is here! We take our first look at Flux’s hometown of Zanydu!

Oh absolutely. Either you’re trying to keep tabs on the industry as a whole to get a sense of the current news or trends, or keeping tabs on other artists so you can remain competitive with them (in addition to being able to network with them, obviously).

At one point I had aspirations to work in the animation industry, and a part of why I gave up the ghost was that I finally had the realization that I enjoyed drawing better when it was a hobby. There’s a lot more to the industry than rolling into work and drawing funny pictures every day, and if an artist is going to make it in animation they need to dedicate a huge chunk of their life to it. Not to mention, Drew’s situation at the beginning of the LP, being browbeat into pulling what is likely unpaid overtime, is unfortunately still very reflective of the industry today (At least, based on what I have heard through friends who work in the Canadian animation industry).

To bring it back to the LP, these are things that maybe could’ve been given a nod to in Toonstruck. Maybe we get more of Drew’s thoughts on his career, what it’s like to work in the industry, and whether or not he still enjoys it. The cutscenes in the real world are the only tastes we get of what the job is like and how Drew feels about it. As soon as we enter the toonworld the game focuses on the problems of the toons, and forgets about Drew’s problem’s in the real world.

1 Like

Part 5 is here! Slowly but surely we’re starting to make more and more progress, I think this video marks the point where the game starts ramping up and we’re able to solve more and more puzzles.

1 Like

BDSMarge is the best character, I’ve sold people on this game by telling them it features a kinky cow voiced by Tress MacNeille

1 Like

Marge really gives Tress time to shine, I love that she’s able to play both versions of Marge and it comes off so naturally. She’s an amazing voice actress, I’ve yet to get tired of hearing her voice!

Also it only just hit me that it looks like Marge is wearing all leather, which suits her malevolated personality so well.

(From “Toonstruck Official Hints and Solutions”)

I actually have a weird soft spot for Polly? Her design is really fun, I love the super cinched waist contrasting with her sheep floof.

(Also from “Toonstruck Official Hints and Solutions”)

I also like how her wool mimics the shape of a female chest, it gets the intention across in a way that makes sense for the character, very fun design idea in my opinion. It makes me wish for a remastered version of Toonstruck so the design was a bit clearer!

Part 6 is here! In this episode we get a peek into the Malevolands, as well as a small behind the scenes look into my recording process (AKA, I forget to edit something out and it leads to a bit of fun, so I’ve left it in for you all to [hopefully] enjoy).

I feel compelled to accompany every Toonstruck LP I see with the following guide to solving any sliding puzzle, provided that you can tell which tile goes where. Never be baffled again! Let’s suppose that the tiles are numbered thus:
 1   2   3   4
 5   6   7   8
 9  10 11 12
13 14 15 16
and that the blank space goes in slot 16. Each of these steps should be fairly easy to accomplish if you slide tiles around haphazardly, just making sure that you don’t move any of the tiles that I indicate have been solved:

  • Move tile 1 into slot 1. You will never need to move it again.
  • Move tile 2 into slot 2. You will likewise never need to move it again.
  • Move tile 3 into slot 5.
  • Move tile 4 into slot 6.
  • Slide tile 4 right, up, and right, bringing tile 3 along for the ride. The entire top row is now fixed and need never be moved again.
  • Move tile 5 into its place, then tile 6.
  • The remaining space is getting tight, so you might want to move tile 8 into slot 16.
  • Move tile 7 into slot 9, then move tile 8 into slot 10.
  • Repeat the right, up, right movement to complete the second row. The top two rows are now correctly placed.
  • With only two rows remaining, we now have to work left-to-right. Start by placing tile 13 in slot 9 and tile 9 in slot 12. They don’t really need to be so far apart, but it’s easiest to split them this way.
  • Move tile 9 to the left until it’s in slot 10, next to tile 13.
  • Move tile 13 down and tile 9 left. You need never touch them again.
  • Repeat the above steps: Put tile 14 in slot 10 and tile 10 in slot 12, then move tile 10 left. Shift both tiles into their correct places.
  • Simply rotate the last three tiles until they’re correctly positioned. If this turns out to be impossible, then the puzzle is broken. Someone has switched two of the tiles. It’s possible that you’ve swapped the positions of two apparently identical tiles. Whoops.

Puzzle solved! I hope this guide helps you and nobody reading this thread ever has a problem solving a sliding puzzle again. If you can’t remember all of the steps, just keep in mind that the last two tiles in any row or column have to be placed at the same time. If you’re missing only one tile in a row or a column, you’ll need to pull out the one next to it, put them together, and then snake them into position that way.

1 Like

This is amazing! I had a feeling there was some system to it, I love seeing that’s actually the case! The next time I run into a sliding block puzzle in any game I’m going to employ this method.

Also huge shout-out to you, I remember first finding your LP’s through the LP Archive back in the day (In particular I found Folklore and, of course, Mask of Eternity super enjoyable to watch). I’m now wondering if your LP of Toonstruck was actually my first introduction to the game?

I didn’t bring it up during the Let’s Play but I never played Toonstruck as a kid, I was actually introduced to it/first learned about it through watching a Let’s Play of it. So on the off-chance that it was your LP that I saw, thank you very much, as mine might not exist without you!

(Also on the off chance that anyone reading this thread does not already watch Nidoking’s Let’s Plays, please check them out!)

Wow, thanks for the shout-out! It may well have been my LP. I’m surprised at how long it’s been - that was one of my earliest. It’s good to know that people are discovering games through my LPs. I try to pick games that don’t seem to get much attention, but really deserve it. I’m enjoying your take on it as well, so I’m glad to have been a proximate cause.

For the record, I worked out the sliding puzzle algorithm myself during a very long car trip with nothing but a sliding puzzle for entertainment. The “last two tiles at once” principle is really the key to the whole thing - once I’d given up trying to shove that final tile into its place, the rest was fairly simple. By contrast, I had to be taught how to solve a Rubik’s Cube, although solving it one-handed is my personal party trick.

The time frame would definitely line up, I got into LPs sometime around 2010 which if the dates on the LP archive are accurate, are around the time you posted it!

I applaud your ability to figure out the sliding puzzle algorithm by yourself, that’s incredible. The only party trick I have going for me is a double-jointed elbow (Which as you can expect, is very hard to work into a conversation naturally).

I had overlooked this and now I need to catch up because you and GhengisKait do such great work!

1 Like