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Toki Tori 2+: Nintendo Switch Edition Review

March 7, 2018 / 5:33 PM

By: Jesse Waldack

Thanks to Nintendo Dads Podcast Patron Bryan Scott for writing the following review for Toki Tori 2+: Nintendo Switch Edition

Title: Toki Tori 2+: Nintendo Switch Edition
Developer: Two Tribes
Publisher: Two Tribes
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 2/23/2018
Reviewed by: Bryan Scott

A game titled after the main character, and a direct sequel to the original Toki Tori released on Game Boy Color in 2001, Toki Tori 2+ puts the player in control of a young, yellow, egg-shaped chicken in a charming, yet challenging 2D puzzle platformer. But is Toki Tori’s charm enough to mask some of its faults? Let’s take a closer look!

Toki Tori’s skill set is simple: he can whistle a note of varying scale and stomp on the ground, both of which affect the environment and wildlife around him in a variety of ways. These two actions are available right from the beginning and are all Toki Tori needs to solve every puzzle within the game. And yet, while that may sound extremely easy, challenging puzzle designs greet the player early on, so don’t expect this title to be a walk in the park.

Toki Tori 2+ wastes no time with title screens, tutorials, or tips to get you started. Upon launching the game, your character is immediately placed in a beautiful world filled with vibrant colors, whimsically designed characters, a scrolling parallax background effect, and your first set of puzzles to solve. Complementing the beautiful landscape is butter smooth animations which run at 60 FPS. The UI is clean and doesn’t feature any of the elements typically found in a platforming game, such as a health meter, number of lives, collectible counter, or a timer. This minimalistic visual approach, coupled with the lack of any introduction or opening dialog text, meant I spent my first 30 minutes simply trying to understand the whistle and stomp actions and how they affected the various creatures I encountered. If you’re looking for a narrative-driven game with engaging story beats, then Toki Tori 2+ is not for you. This game is all about puzzle solving and gameplay. Speaking of gameplay, Toki Tori’s movement is not swift, and he can only waddle towards the left or right for lateral movement. For vertical movement, the young chicken can climb ladders or clamber over short inclines. He is unable to jump though, so mastery of the whistle and stomp abilities around other creatures quickly becomes essential to gain seemingly unreachable heights.

As mentioned previously, one of Toki Tori’s primary skills is his whistle. Whistling gains the attention of and attracts creatures toward Toki Tori. While experimenting with this mechanic, I learned that he can perform a short whistle with a quick button tap, or a long whistle with a press and hold of the same button. This led me to experiment with different combinations of short and long whistles and, ultimately, accidentally unlocking my first melody. There are five melodies Toki Tori can whistle, and each one performs a unique function. As I progressed further, I discovered that a friendly white bird will show up when necessary to teach you (or remind you of) a particular melody that may help you get out of a difficult spot, so it isn’t necessary to blindly stumble upon the melodies as I had done with the first few. I would have appreciated a little bit of text, in the beginning, describing that Toki Tori might eventually learn a useful song or two during his travels, as I would not have spent as much time experimenting with the various whistle patterns.

In contrast to whistling, stomping the ground tends to detract other creatures and push them away from your character. Many of the game’s puzzles are designed with a certain harmony of whistling and stomping, coupled with the proper timing of each action in order to successfully complete each area. It’s a neat combination that kept my brain active.

Every detail on the island seems to be designed with a purpose. Environmental situations play a key factor in the puzzle solutions and sometimes can be quite subtle if you’re not paying close attention. For example, when Toki Tori climbs out of the water, he will be dripping wet for a short period, during which he can walk over a patch of short grass to grow it taller. And tall grass is useful for hiding! Subtleties like this are sometimes the tiny missing detail you need to get past an area.

The pause menu features a level reset function allowing you to revert the current screen you’re on back to its default state if Toki Tori gets stuck in an area. The puzzles often have only one strict and specific solution, so when my trial and error attempts went awry, I had to utilize this level reset function often. As you piece together the answers to the environment surrounding you, checkpoints will be reached that allows you to continue from that spot if you die. Toki Tori can die from various hazards such as getting zapped by electrified bugs, falling in lava, or suffocating under water if you don’t surface for air in enough time. There is no limit on lives, however, and you’ll respawn at your last checkpoint quickly after meeting your demise.

Traversing the island is somewhat similar to Metroid in that you can explore the map in just about any order, but the similarities stop there as there aren’t any weapons or power-ups to discover along the way. Collectibles exist in the form of shiny golden wings which can be used to unlock hidden areas if enough of them are collected. After completing an area, Toki Tori enters a door or passageway to reveal an island map showing the player a thousand-foot view of all the paths there are to take and areas there are to discover including wooded, mountainous, watery, and fiery volcanic regions.  The path around the island is not linear, and some areas have multiple entry and exit points, so it’s really up to the player to decide how to complete each region. Large stone obelisks can also be found within the regions and activated simply by walking up to them, and these serve as fast travel points for when you need to return to a previous area to choose a different path.

For those who enjoy hunting collectibles, Toki Tori 2+ offers two more that aren’t in the form of tangible tokens spread around the island. One of the melodies you can whistle will summon a bird clutching a camera in his claws, and you can position him anywhere on the screen to take photos of various objects and creatures. If successful, a photo is saved in your Tokidex, where there are thirty-nine unique objects and creatures to collect in picture form. In addition to photo collectibles, there are forty-five achievements to strive for if the main game’s challenges aren’t enough for you. You can even see a percentage of progress towards each achievement which just adds another small carrot on the stick to keep you chasing after them. Both the Tokidex and achievement list can be found in the pause menu.

Admittedly, I enjoy platforming style games with a little more speed, action, and combat, so my time spent in Toki Tori 2+ didn’t cater very much to my own personal preferences. However, I still found much appreciation in the stunning art style and some clever puzzles that, at times, challenged my brain and forced me to think beyond the obvious. The story isn’t much to write home about, but this game is all about puzzle solving, and it’s done well. With an E for Everyone rating, Toki Tori 2+ is suitable for gamers young and old. However, players in the former category may have a tougher time solving some puzzles without assistance. If you like a slower paced game filled with mental push-ups and charming visuals, Toki Tori 2+ is a treat.

Special thanks to Two Tribes for providing us with a review copy.

 

About the author /


Having played Intellivision and Atari games since he was six, Jesse has not only grown up with video games, but has seen just about everything. A husband and father of three teenagers, he still tries to squeeze in a game or three when he is able.

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