Review: Toki Tori 2
I’m about to tell you the most important thing in Toki Tori 2.
Short note, short note, long note, long note.
Then you’ll explode.
Toki Tori 2 is a puzzle platformer that plays in the style of a Metroidvania game. For those not familiar with the term that means the game plays like installments from the Metroid and Castlevania franchises. Instead of stages or levels there’s only one large map and as you progress through the game you’re able to get access to more and more of the overall map.
Unlike those games though you won’t be getting upgrades to go into each new area. Instead you’ll have to become better at the puzzles the game throws at you.
The game plays out like this, there are two ways to go, one way is the path of least resistance where it plays more like a platformer and you’re able to go where the game wants you to go. As you get better at understanding and using the game’s world you’ll tackle more and more difficult puzzles that will allow you access to the entire map.
You play as Toki Tori, a baby chick who can’t do much of anything except whistle and stomp. He’s only able to climb up small steps so you must make use of the environment and the animals to make your way across a the world. Getting from one side of the map to the other could involve birds carrying you to their nests, frogs capturing you in floating bubbles, or just having glow bugs light your way.
The controls are of the “pick up and play” variety. You can use either the thumbstick or the D pad to control Toki Tori and you use one button for your whistle and one button for stomp, that’s it. It’s a control method that will be easy for everyone to jump in and start solving puzzles.
The story plays out as you play the game. You’ll start Toki Tori 2 in the middle of nowhere and it’s up to you to find your way around and the reasons why you’re doing what you’re doing. There’s no explanation at all, everything you learn in the game will be purely from picking up the visual and audible clues as you play.
Love it or hate it you can’t help but welcome a different way of story telling.
That’s not to say it’s a complete free form sandbox, there’s a story here, they just used a different way to tell it. Love it or hate it you can’t help but welcome a different way of story telling.
While you’ll be traveling over grasslands, high up mountains, and deep in underwater caves the most important thing is how to make the environment work for you instead of against you. Almost every dead end in the game is a dead end because you haven’t figured out how to solve it yet.
That’s not to say there’s not a dead end here or there. Sometimes there are multiple steps needed to solve a puzzle, if you do them out of order you can become stuck. In those cases remember that tune I told you at the start of the review? Have Toki Tori sing that tune and he’ll explode allowing you to start over from your most recent checkpoint. You can also restart from your last checkpoint on the gamepad but that doesn’t feature an exploding chick, the choice is yours.
Toki Tori is a long game and there are a ton of collectables to find throughout the map. I logged close to 20 hours and still have collectables to find.
The other thing users can do in Toki Tori 2 is search out all the different animals as you progress along your journey and enter them in your bestiary. When there’s a new animal on the screen you can take the gamepad and using it as a camera take the shot. You can see your entire picture collection from the menu screen. In some ways this picture mode feels like a relative of Pokemon Snap and it helps extend an already lengthy game.
Good news is that the use of the gamepad doesn’t stop there. Users who want to take their adventure off of the TV can play the game perfectly on the gamepad. There’s even a separate brightness control for the gamepad that offers users a bit more precision compared to what’s offered by default on the gamepad.
The sound in the game is great. Toki Tori’s whistling is great and all the other animals have their own distinctive voice. When you walk into a cave filled with frogs the entire room will be filled with their croaking chatter. In Toki Tori 2 what you hear helps you solve puzzles just as much as what you see and you’ll never be at a disadvantage because of the sound.
The music in the game is relaxing and upbeat. The game was designed to be taken at your own pace and the music reflects that. It’s all about the music accompanying you as you travel over the different environments.
As you can see from the images and video the game looks gorgeous. There’s so much attention to detail from each animal looking and moving with it’s own style to the way that the foreground is slightly blurred as you go through some areas of the map.
Why it may be helpful for people with anxiety
- Looks terrific
- A lot to do when you combine the game and the bestiary.
- Controls are simple to pick up and play
- Ability to play on gamepad
- Everything has a very relaxed and upbeat feel to it
Why it may be unhelpful for people with anxiety
- The lack of an explained story could lead to some frustration if someone is using this to help relieve their symptoms
- Inability to overcome a puzzle could stop a players gameplay in their tracks
Why you should be playing this
Toki Tori 2 is an enjoyable adventure that never feels too hard because there’s almost always another path you can take.
All of the game’s creatures are adorable and the gameplay itself is either a thumbstick or D pad with two buttons, it’s the definition of a fun pick up and play game.
When you add in the picture taking elements there’s a lot to do in this game. In order to get all the collectables and take all the pictures you’ll have to explore every nook and cranny of the game. Thankfully the way that Toki Tori 2 is designed it’s fun to search all of them out and never feels like a chore.
For dealing with any kind of anxiety I feel that Toki Tori 2 is a good game to play as long as the person is aware that there are going to be some puzzles that will just stump you. The fortunate thing is that there are other paths to take and new areas to scout, so chances are that few people will be completely stuck to a point where they can’t progress any farther.
Toki Tori 2 offers so much in terms of gameplay that it’s hard not to recommend this to everyone who owns a Wii U.
This review was based on the Wii U version that was provided by the publisher.
April 4th, 2013
Looks great, adorable personality for all the characters, bestiary is fun to complete, puzzles are challenging but fair, gamepad support
Lack of instructions and story could pose a rough learning curve for some