Toki Tori 2+ is the colorful sequel to a platformer game that has led me to having some of the best times in my life. Toki Tori was originally released on Game Boy Colour back in the year 2001, and is still one of my favorite games to date, so for me trying to talk about this sequel without being biased is a little hard. Regardless, I’ll give it a go.
The moment you start-up Toki Tori 2+ you’re greeted with a tune that you’ll be hearing throughout the rest of the game, luckily for you, the cheery little tune isn’t annoying and sets the tone immediately without being purposefully overbearing. That and let’s be honest, everyone likes a nice, happy song to hear while you’re busy platforming to your heart’s content, and Toki Tori 2+ has that in spades. Besides that, you get to play as a cute little yellow bird who sings, what isn’t there to like about that?
But what really makes Toki Tori 2+ stand out is how it lulls you into securely thinking that this is just another easy platformer (it really isn’t), right up until you find yourself completely lost, staring at the screen and wondering why this game is so darn hard. No, in fact, it feels as time goes on that the game just gets harder and harder without becoming so difficult you give up on the game completely. Toki Tori can give the ol’ meat organ up there a good workout but isn’t completely punishing, so new and old players of the series will definitely get something out of it.
Skills in Toki Tori 2+ are few enough that they aren’t excessive to learn. The main thing you have to remember is singing musical notes (which you’ll have to hold down on for high notes) and taking tons and tons of pictures. You may be thinking ‘how do these two things relate?’ and I can understand why because they don’t sound like they relate at all, but singing certain notes unlock different abilities that will help you solve the various puzzles scattered around in Toki Tori 2+’s worlds.
What’s more, as you continue to play and progress, new mechanics are slowly introduced to you. Melodies, in particular, are an important component to Toki Tori 2+’s gameplay. One of the first melodies you learn helps you rewind back in time to go back to a previous save point, allowing you to have another go at a puzzle that you didn’t understand how to do before, but do now. Another allowed me to interact with animals in various different ways, either getting them to follow me or using their presence to shield me from the nasty creatures that wanted to gobble me up for lunch.
The use of the environment is also a pivotal aspect in Toki Tori 2+. There were moments where light, dark, grass and water played a part in getting through certain puzzles, making each time feel as though I had to adapt my playing style in order to get through to the next level. I was impressed by the level of dedication of environment in both art and interactivity, as I wasn’t convinced the environment would be a plausible tool to help with the puzzles – yet I was proven wrong. Dead wrong.
Part of what makes this game fascinating and irritating to me is the lack of tutorial. Some would argue that adding a tutorial for a platformer like this one is essentially me asking for the game to hold my hand, but I disagree. Simple things, such as holding down in the first place to trigger a high note, was completely unknown to me until I looked it up.
I also wish there were ‘hints’. While I got through most of the puzzles pretty fast, there were moments where I stared and stared at a puzzle with no idea what to do. I didn’t want to look on the internet again, I just wanted to figure it out for myself. At moment’s like this you really start to despair, questioning your mentality and intelligence in such an awful way that if often leads to frustration building up inside you to the point you’ve got to the put the game down. That’s largely why I wish there was some sort of hint system in-game, helping the players who do get stuck.
The art is beautiful and the gameplay is succinct, with one of my favorite features being the map. In the map you are allowed to traverse many different areas, never being stuck in one place for long. This part stuck out a lot to me as I felt like it gave me more freedom to explore, along with trying new methods to progress.
Yet, even though I loved the game, it didn’t have the same spark as the previous Toki Tori did. The levels weren’t exceptional, despite their diversity, and at times the lack of direction was disheartening rather than creative. That said, it is an adventurous game and for those who love puzzles then I cannot recommend Toki Tori 2+ enough.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Nintendo Switch code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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