Game review: “Toki Tori”

No, this isn’t a game about verbose politicians. Rather, Toki Tori is a platform puzzler with oodles of character. It is available on PC (via Steam), Wii, and iPhone/iPod Touch, and is made by Dutch game developer Two Tribes. A previous incarnation of the character appeared in a game of the same name in 2001 on GameBoy Color.

Gameplay

Toki Tori is a cute but portly chicken-like character who must free a number of trapped eggs on each level. The essential gameplay mechanic is 2d platformer, although the focus is squarely on solving the level as fairly small puzzles rather than lots of exploring. This means playing pace is quite laid-back. Careful timing is sometimes important, but there is little call for reflexes or quick-thinking. This makes it suitable for casual and thoughtful gamers.

There are a few enemies on some levels, and various hazards such as lava or spikey objects. You also need to be careful not to get trapped. Helping you on the way along are an interesting range of weapons and tools, including a freeze-gun and a teleporter.

The most interesting aspect of the gameplay is rewind mode. This is an excellent feature which lets you rewind back through your progress on a level, so if you fell into some lava there is no need to replay the whole level. Instead, you can just go back to the point immediately before falling in, and carry on again from there. It’s kind of like the “undo” button in many computer applications.

Graphics & Sound

The visual style is a delight, maintaining a consistent feel and character throughout. It seems to be prerendered 3d graphics, but it is done very well with lots of polish. The sound is reasonable, although the music gets a little repetitive after a while.

Control

I was playing on the PC, and it offers 3 main control modes. Keyboard, mouse, or control pad. The keyboard and control pad modes are very much like a conventional platform control scheme, although the mouse is particularly interesting. If you have a scroll-mouse then there is no need for the keyboard — you simply click a destination and Toki Tori will move there. It is very slick and effective.

Conclusion

I enjoy this game as a way to unwind. It gives me a bit of a mental challenge, but it isn’t constantly forcing me to solve it quickly or handle lots of simultaneous tasks. It is superbly well polished, expressing great originality. Two Tribes have done a great job, and I recommend this to anybody who enjoys a thoughtful but fun game.

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