The thrill of snagging a prize from a crane game is all too familiar. Also known as claw machines, these games have a deceptively simple setup: a chute full of attractive prizes (usually plushies) and a claw that you control to catch them. But that’s all part of the fun; as a self-professed veteran claw machine player, I can vouch for the excitement that comes from finally beating the machine at its game and emerging victorious with my Gudetama plushie in hand.
But with COVID-19 still ongoing, it’s hard for many of you to go to your local arcade to play crane games. Enter Toreba. This crane game app from Japan brings the true-blue crane game experience™ to your phone, letting you catch prizes while you’re lounging on the couch or bed.
In this article, we guide you through the basics of Toreba to help you get started. You can also check out our in-depth review of Toreba here.
Inside This Article
When you first launch Toreba on your phone, you get five free play tickets as part of the game’s free trial. You can use these tickets on any machine in the app, except Toreba Point (TP)-Only ones. TP is basically Toreba’s premium currency, which you mainly obtain by paying real money.
Toreba also frequently runs events and campaigns where you will be given more play tickets and occasionally TP for free. As of the time of this writing, the game is running a Campaign Plus and a Gratitude Campaign. In this campaign, you will receive one play ticket daily and 5,000 TP.
Crane games are split into seven main categories: figures, plushies, miscellaneous goods, apparel, toys, limited items, and chance prizes. These prizes often feature characters from popular anime and Japanese mascot franchises like Pokémon, One Piece, Rilakkuma, and Gudetama—if you’re a fan of any of these franchises, you’d be sure to find something to test your luck for!
These machines are further split into two kinds: Normal and TP-Only machines. You can use both play tickets and TP on normal machines, but TP-exclusive ones are like their name suggests: they only accept TP for plays. As earlier mentioned, TP is Toreba’s premium currency that you have to buy. More on that later.
And now we come to the main highlight of this piece: how to actually play a crane game on Toreba. After you choose a machine, you’ll see a screen that shows you a live video recording of your machine and the prize you’re trying for.
If the prize you’re trying for is large (as is the case with the Torchic in this example), then it will be substituted by something else—usually a box, a sheet of paper, or in this case, a towel. Knock the substitute into the chute and the prize is yours.
To get started, select the green “Play this machine” button. You will have to wait in line if there’re other users who are either playing the machine or waiting to play it. Use this time to watch what the other users ahead of you are doing! When your turn comes, you can repeat their strategies to hone in for the kill.
When your turn comes or the machine has no other users, the green “Start” button will emerge, and you simply have to push it to begin a game. You’re given 90 seconds to decide to start the game.
You have exactly 30 seconds for each round of gameplay. You have two buttons to use in each round, starting from a right yellow one that lets you move the claw to the right. To do so, press and hold the button until the claw reaches your desired point. When you release the button, it will change into an up blue one for you to move the claw upwards. Repeat the process and keep your fingers crossed—hopefully, you can get the prize you’re gunning for!
Make sure to stick to your time limits! To reiterate, you have 90 seconds to start a game and 30 seconds to finish it. If you don’t adhere to the time limit, your session will time out. The app will then automatically transfer it to the next player waiting in line. If you want to continue playing, you’ll have to go to the back of the line or choose a different machine.
To better see what you’re doing, you can pinch in, pinch out, or double-tap your screen to zoom in and out. You can even use this function to take a closer look at the prizes. From here, you can determine whether they’re truly worth your time.
Toreba isn’t your run-of-the-mill “drop the claw and pick up the prize” kind of game. You have to carefully plan and strategize to ensure every move counts. While Toreba hasn’t given the games official names, players have identified and named the following eight:
Ping pong drop-off
Hook the grid
Parallel bar (example above)
Two-arm lift, push, and pull
Pierce the paper tape
Roll the ball
Move the C-shaped hooks
- Pinball machine
Of these, players have reported that the ping pong drop-off game is the easiest one to win prizes from. As you can see in the screenshot above, the claw is fitted with specialized grips to help the ping pong ball stay in place. You have a higher chance of winning when you try getting prizes from such machines.
Toreba can be pretty addictive, especially when you’ve started winning prizes with your free tickets. But you’ll eventually run out of these tickets and in order to keep playing, you’ll have to buy TP with real money. Simply tap on the orange TP button on the bottom left of your screen, and you’ll pull up the TP package screen as shown above.
While Toreba is a fun game to pass your free time, we advise you to play it in moderation. Spend only within your limits to prevent future heartbreak!
You can also obtain TP by filling out the offers that Toreba has built into the app. Simply tap on the banner (as pictured above) to view the list of offers available. Most of these will require you to complete surveys and/or download other games.
When you successfully win a prize, Toreba will automatically record it in a video for you to download. Share the clip on your social media for bragging rights—you have definitely earned it! As the video above shows, winning prizes on Toreba often requires you to think out of the box. Whether it’s grabbing a certain section of the packaging, pushing against a stubborn crease, or dragging the prize across a platform, there’s no hard and fast rule on winning.
Once you win a prize, it’s time to get it shipped. Above is a chart of Toreba’s shipping rates, which vary based on the prize’s weight and your location. The rates you want to look at are boxed in red. Based on the rates in an earlier section, since 5,000 TP costs USD4.99, the shipping cost of a 1,000g Toreba prize is about USD19.99.
As accurate to the time of this writing, Toreba is currently running a campaign where it offers free shipping just once a week. You’ll enjoy free shipping no matter how many prizes you win and how heavy they are!
You may not be able to play physical crane games thanks to Miss Rona, but don’t let that stop you from enjoying them. With Toreba, you can still relive the adrenaline and excitement of any standard crane game from the comfort of your home!
Get the lowdown on what we think of Toreba in our review here.