Toki Toki 2+ Is a Strikingly Simple, and Clever, Puzzle Platformer

Launching on the Game Boy Color in 2001, the original Toki Tori was the first game ever released by developer Two Tribes. Toki Tori was a level-based puzzle platformer featuring a cartoonish chicken who ran around collecting eggs.

In 2008, the game was remade as a WiiWare launch title, afterwards appearing on many platforms, from PC to PlayStation 3, to iOS, Android, 3DS, and more.

In making the sequel, Two Tribes wanted to create an experience which was markedly different from the original game. The development team set out to create a large, open world, without any of the traditional puzzle items seen in many other games.

Two Tribes also wanted Toki Tori 2 to be very simple, and aimed to create an experience where players could intuit what to do, learning as they went, instead of being burdened with bothersome tutorials.

They succeeded with flying colors with Toki Tori 2+.

Even underwater, the creatures of Toki Tori 2+ will come when you call.

STORY

There isn’t really a story to Toki Tori 2+, but that didn’t bother me. Although there are puzzle platformers like Limbo, Inside, and Braid which tell compelling (if strange) stories, much like with fighting games, a good story is not necessarily a requirement for a good puzzle platformer.

But just because a game doesn’t feature a serious, Witcher III-level story doesn’t mean it has nothing to say. This game is about an egg-shaped chicken walking around, collecting golden wings and finding frogs, but what really struck me was the serenity of simply being in nature, and the satisfaction of finding simple solutions to life’s seemingly insurmountable problems.

I’m still not sure how frogs turn the bugs they eat into bubbles strong enough to lift a small chicken, but maybe we’ll find out in Toki Tori 3.

GAMEPLAY & CONTROLS

Controls are extremely simple in this game, but the draw of Toki Tori 2+ doesn’t come from an ever-expanding verb set, it comes from ingenious use of a more limited one.

Players only have two methods for manipulating the environment; singing, and stomping on the ground. Singing brings other animals closer to the player, and stomping can either cause creatures to move further away or dislodge crawling creatures from walls.

Sinister masks lie in wait in dark caves. Find a way to shine a light on them to clear a path!

If this sounds incredibly simplistic, it is, but the real satisfaction in Toki Tori 2+ comes from the brilliance of Two Tribes’ puzzle design. Starting out, puzzles are incredibly simple, and the game slowly ramps up in complexity, making the player more and more familiar with the verb set until they are manipulating the environment with the greatest of ease, navigating seemingly impassable barriers in moments.

Controls are light, snappy, and responsive, and even though the player moves somewhat slowly and deliberately, it never matters, because Toki Tori 2+ is not a game that rushes the player. There are no time-sensitive puzzles. You can slow down, take your time, and think until the solution comes to you, which helps create a contemplative atmosphere for the game.

When birds are around, you’ll need to be cautious, or you’re bound to get carried away!

GRAPHICS & SOUND

The visual style in Toki Tori 2+ is smooth and clean, and cute creatures abound. The soundtrack is a satisfying mix of the peppy and the slightly melancholy, and the creature sound effects made me want to go outside and just listen to the little sounds of life at my local park. (I may do that later today, as a matter of fact.)

Later on in the game, players won’t be able to sing freely, as awakened bats attack, making quick work of our feathered friend.

CONCLUSION

Toki Tori 2+ is charming. The game’s limited verb set serves to highlight fantastically clever puzzle design which truly speaks for itself. Two Tribes believes in the intelligence of the player, and it shows.

The $15 price tag gets you 10-20 hours of puzzle platforming goodness, so if you are looking for a laid back game to play on a rainy day, Toki Tori 2+ is a solid choice.

Platform – Nintendo Switch eShop Download
Publisher – Two Tribes Publishing
Developer – Two Tribes
Release Date – February 23, 2018
Price – $14.99
Genre – Adventure, Puzzle, Platformer
Players – 1
Size –  547 MB

Brian Barnett has loved video games ever since his uncle Jimmy introduced him to them at the ripe old age of five. His wife, Audrey, was also introduced to video games by her uncle, lending credence to Brian’s theory that behind every gamer, there is a cool uncle.

Since playing Super Mario Bros. on the NES, Brian has had a passion for Nintendo games. The first thing he did when he started earning money was save up and buy himself a Game Boy, and they quickly became inseparable. Through the years, this led to his special love of portable game consoles, so the release of the Switch is the perfect storm of Nintendo action he has been waiting for.

In addition to his gaming obsession, Brian enjoys playing drums, writing and listening to music, and hosting a weekly video game and nerd culture podcast.

He is an extrovert, and loves talking about and playing games with others, so let him know if you want to team up and play together!

Plays: Switch, New 3DS, SNES, NES, GBA, PC, Xbox One, PS4, Vita

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