Is Crane Game Toreba worth the play? (A "Review")

Toreba is one of those enslaving apps that gets you addicted to pay a few dollars more to get your returns worth…well until you get the hang of it.


PS: This article is going to be a slightly longer one. And this is not a sponsored post.


Someone introduced me to the app and was telling me good things about how you could get a bunch of toys every week with free delivery for a small investment that was going to be worth it eventually. I was skeptical, who wouldn’t be? A tacky app with poor reviews online doesn’t help at all.


Crane Game Toreba is basically a micro-payment driven crane machine app that allows you to control a crane/claw machine REMOTELY and try to win yourself a heap variety of prizes from banpresto figurines, soft toys, apparels, accessories and whatever manga or animated products you can ever think of. It is literally a claw machine you play in the arcade, except you’re now playing it on the comfort of your bedsheets. The idea was completely new to me when I was first told. I mean I’m actually controlling the claw machine real-time 5000 KM away.


I’ll start with the good things, the bad then the good. (It’s confusing I know but read on!)


The Attraction of the Game

Toreba promises new users with 5 free tries and a free delivery of all your prizes every single week. That’s pretty enticing and it was what kickstarted my obsession. They even have free coupon events so often that you literally get 1 to 2 free tries daily.



The app boasts a huge collection of prizes. I play only on figurines but they have a huge variety I can’t be bothered to explore because it’s another pitfall. You can find Pokemon plushies, the latest Boku no Hero Age of Heroes figurines (they have the newest figure that are not even on my local stores yet), weird anime assortments from posters to small trinkets. Their figurine section is crazy, I can’t say the same for the other sections but I believe they are not far behind.


The many different varieties and latest figurine from MHA.


The Payments

The cost of the payment charges from 5000 YEN onwards and each play is 2000 points to 2800 points. That is around $2.4 SGD/$1.68 USD per play on minimum, which is expensive by double. Japan prices their claw machines usually at 100 YEN/$1.2 SGD/$0.9 USD per play.



You can also pay a monthly fee of 2.99USD to get a constant top up of 10 000 points monthly, which I am currently doing.



The Game

You start by finding a prize that you want to play for through their different sections. After which, you select ‘play’ and join in their queue system to be the next player. You’ll be able to spot if there are any users playing or queuing in the particular machine. The queues are important to win because you’ll need the prizes to be in good position, and someone has to take the bullet.


Controls are simple, your first move is towards the right and the last move is inwards to the prize.


For the play itself, since we’re controlling the claws remotely, you won’t be reminiscing when you were in Akiharaba’s Sega. The controls are stable, but they have a slight delay. So you’d always have to stop earlier when you want the movements to stop.


The Reality

Here comes the truth, all the games are hard and you’re gonna lose all your first 5 tries before having the urge to top up more to pretend you have a chance.


Most of the machines have you tickling the prizes like every other physical machines. However, for some, you do see actual big movements of the prizes if you can manage to hit the sweet spots especially for boxes.


*Since I only explored their figurines section, anything else from now onward will be only specific to figurines.*


Each machine on average I’ve seen, will take an average play of 10 tries to win the prize from scratch. From scratch meaning the box is refreshed in its first and new position. Obviously, that’s not how we’re going to play the game because we might as well be buying the toys off retail if I was spending 10 tries x 2500 points per figurine.


So after losing all my new user free tries, I topped up $10 and signed on their monthly membership for further poison. I finally won my first prize; the Grandista Midoriya which I reviewed here.


It took me one single try, with a technique often used by other players to create this twisting movement from the box once it only has two points of contact from the poles. I was lucky because I had a great position and was in the right queue. The box hung on the poles after the claws returned but dropped a few seconds after it shook for a little. I probably had an anxiety attack.


The key to playing Toreba

I realized once you figure out the techniques along with a good queue, you can actually win stuff for real. However, some machines are really difficult to win and you need to figure out yourselves which not to play and accept that fact unless you have money to spend.


I was $30SGD deep with only 1 figure in-hand. So I told myself not to spend any more other than the monthly payments. So utilizing the few dollars and the free coupons that they give daily, I watched people play live and went to watch the winning replays they put on http://www.toreba.net/en/replay. This particular machine that I found (they have removed it) had a particularly good chance of winning if the box was in a specific kind of position.


My favorite type of machine to play on

I managed to win twice over a few days of free coupon tries and I was so stoked.


I felt like there were several key points to take note to make your payments or non-payments worth anything.


Time to watch some wins to win

Time is definitely going to be a “payment” you gotta make that they don’t state on the receipt. To know what you need to do, you have to watch the winning replays to know how these players win. One flaw about the replay site is that you can’t select on certain machines because they only show the latest wins and Toreba simply has too many varieties.


So the key is to watch how people win on that particular machine you’re set on. Figure out your prize, and stalk that machine once in awhile. The best is when there are players queuing for the machine, it’s a good sign the toy is about to drop.


But that also means you will spend an hour or so on the app everyday. Half the time you spend on the app is going to be stalking and waiting for someone to bite the bullet for you so you can get a good position. Note that everyone else smart enough will be doing the same, so you’ll often see people queuing and leaving and repeating that shit until the machine drops from a 5 person to queue to 0.


Hit the new machines

The machine or toys that has “NEW” is probably your best chance because it means that the guys over at Toreba probably hasn’t realize that machine might be too easy for the players (could be intentional). So before they “do things” to make things harder, aim to play those instead of older machines unless you know that older machine has got the easy kick.


The tag “NEW” is a representation of a new machine instead of a new toy, so take note of that! But if you do notice new releases, check those out cause it usually means they have a bunch of players trying to win some fresh drops. It’ll be a good chance to watch or grab yourself a good queue.


It’s all about the position


The positions of the toys are key to knowing when you can win and when you can’t. When it’s fresh off the oven, it’s obvious you’ll need a bunch of tries to even catch a glimpse of hope. But after you start watching replays, you’ll start to see the signs and the hints of when a certain toys has reached its prime moment for deliverance.


Figuring out the techniques will require you to spend time watching the replays. A lot of time. Replays don’t usually take long, but watching people play live that will take up hours. Boxes that has 2 points of contact in between the bars that can spin diagonally usually offers a good chance.


Box with two points of contact in between the bars on the left and a relatively good queue.

The ones that you try to hook them off with two plastic tapes is also substantial to be won. They just need to be in the right position. If you’re lucky, sometimes people don't realize it so there won’t be queues.


In Conclusion

To put it short, Toreba isn’t a fully bad designed app that’s out to cheat your money unless you let them. With the discipline not to splurge, it’s a really good app if you don’t mind putting in some time daily to try your luck.


My recent wins!

Along with the first free 5 tries, it’s actually really worth registering for some freebies. So I’d give it a go if you’re a first timer, after which you can choose to play it for free or delete the app. And if you’re a big spender and enjoy the arcade’s claw machine, then why not?


The app is also available on both the browser and mobile, so that's one thing to note. It might be better on the browser if you have a better connection there.


Here are some links I found on YouTube on Toreba, watch with your own discretion, some are sponsored videos but they do give a good take on the gameplay.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SR1MZbUObo0 (React plays Toreba)


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2vABfRdq4Fg (Arcade Matt's Sponsored Video on Toreba)


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WW9_tEmRjuw (Crane Couple visits Warehouse of Toreba)



Let me know what you think in the comments below. Have you tried the app, and what do you think about it?

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