Some people may not have heard of it, but the Toki Tori series had been around as early as 2001. The first title was released for the Game Boy Color, and it was memorable enough for Dutch developer Two Tribes B.V. to come up with a remake on 2008. This new one, Toki Tori 2+, is the sequel to that remake and does seem like quite the improvement over its first iteration 12 years ago. This was released earlier on the Wii U, then was ported to the PC with some adjustments. If you don’t mind cutesie visuals in your games, then this may be worth checking out.
The “Tori” in the title means chicken in Japanese, so you play as one in this game. Toki Tori 2+ is a puzzle platformer with much potential in its design. It doesn’t know how to jump, so you must rely on abilities and gadgets to traverse the landscape and address the problems that are in the way. There was already a Toki Tori 2 released back in April 2013, but this 2+ has additional music and puzzles that adds up to the overall gameplay experience. There was going to be an iOS version, but it was cancelled unfortunately. But as for the Wii U and PC versions, there is much to like about this game.
In terms of looks, this game features a myriad of visual themes that benefits from smooth graphics with good use of colors. The character designs aren’t too shabby either, with Toki Tori standing out a bit amidst the various environments, from forests to water levels and so on. There is a considerable increase in scale here compared to its predecessors. Its structure is what most platformer aficionados would call “Metroidvania”, which is a portmanteau that encompasses free-roaming platformers with sprawling level designs almost like that of a role-playing game that encourages exploration. The interconnected paths feature various locked areas that require players to look for what will unlock them in currently accessible areas. It encourages character and narrative progression since you need to make use of new abilities and equipment in order to open up these new areas.
This game rewards players for being observant and they can learn various things as you play, like how Toki Tori can stomp to scare animals away and how whistling attracts them. Players can learn about how those animals behave and how to take advantage of them, like riding bubbles blown by frogs when they finish eating bugs and how blue sparrows are compelled to pick stuff up with their claws when they catch their eye. This is not a platformer that you can just rush through, since you have to learn now to interact with the environment and everything else in order to get further.
Even if you’re not that hot on platformers, you get eased into this game and you slowly learn what needs to be done. Toki Tori 2+ does that pretty well. Although for hardcore platforming fans, there isn’t much platforming to speak of as it focuses a bit more on its puzzle aspects, so people who are very heavy on jumping and dashing action may not like it as much. As an introductory title to get casual gamers into the platformer genre, this game actually isn’t too bad at all. It’s also good for those who just like their gameplay to be a bit more subdued, but still challenging at the same time.
If you buy the PC version on Steam, you get a level editor via Steam Workshop, which lets you create your own levels to play in. It’s a pretty nice feature that allows for experimentation and adds to the replay value. This game isn’t about getting to the end, but is more about the adventure itself, and that’s what makes it good.
Tested in PC. Final Score: 8/10