4cr Plays – Toki Tori 2

by Antonio Garcia

After more than 4 years Toki Tori is back. The last adventure on Wiiware (which was later ported to PSN) was a game based on the original Gameboy Color release and now the series is finally ready to begin a new adventure. This time the task at hand is to save the world from an unknown force that is bent on destroying everything!

The original Toki Tori was a puzzle game that provided you with several items for each level like the Freeze-o-Matic that turned enemies into blocks of ice, the Telewarp to teleport yourself over a short distance, or the InstantRock to create a squared rock out of thin air. You had to figure out how and in what order to use these items to grab all the eggs and beat the level. This time around, there are no items or tools at your disposal, but you do have two abilities to use: stomping and whistling. That’s right, this game only has two buttons for you to worry about and everything is done by interacting with the creatures you will find during your journey.

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Toki Tori 2 does not mess around with tutorials, cut scenes or a UI. The only lines of text you will find in the game will appear when the Toki Tori 2 logo pops-up a few minutes into the game, and that’s it. You will learn as you go and are given visual clues and hints about what can be done to progress in the game. The more you learn about how to interact with the creatures you find, the easier it will be to try new routes through the game in order to reach your objectives. “Knowledge” is gathered instead of items and you can apply this knowledge to combine your whistle and stomp into patterns to lure creatures into different spots so that they can interact. For example, you can get a frog to eat a bug so that it can then be carried by a bird to its nest. Then you can be carried by the bird, whistle near the frog so that it turns right and stomp for it to release a bubble that will carry you up to find an alternate route with a set of expert puzzles. This is just one of many examples you can find in the game, and I won’t mention any others to avoid spoiling your experience.

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Because of how your understanding of the stomp and whistle abilities expands, Toki Tori 2 ends up feeling like a classic Metroidvania game since as mentioned above, you can use Knowledge in lieu of new skills or item upgrades to go back to previous areas and obtain a new piece of Knowledge that in turn opens up more out of reach or hidden areas.

Toki Tori 2 makes use of what the Wii U Gamepad has to offer, and you can either play the game on the TV screen or on the Gamepad itself, or use the Gamepad as a camera to take pictures of the creatures and objects in the game to fill out your collection. There is even a small surprise for those who complete their collection! I played between the TV, and the Gamepad at about a 50-50 split and the game looks great on both thanks to the colorful environments, the texture work and the dynamic lighting applied to the models.

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At first you might think the game is linear since you’re constantly moving from point A to point B, but after you break the 2-3 hour mark the game opens up, and you can start to explore a huge world. Thanks to checkpoints, you won’t have to backtrack too far in case you mess up one of the harder puzzles, and this greatly helps you keep focused in enjoying the game at your own pace. There are collectibles like golden wings you can pick up all over the place, though their use is a mystery. It is said that finding all of them will reward you, but I’m still 10 pieces short of a full set! In total I’ve played Toki Tori 2 for 20 hours now, and am a couple of hours away from getting 100% of the game completed.

There is one problem with the way the game has been created though. Since there are no prompts about where to go and what to do, you might find yourself running in circles now and then if you missed a visual clue in one of the areas. For me this is definitely not a deal breaker. It did add an extra hour to my run so do keep that in mind when entering the world of Toki Tori. Give the game a chance and you will eventually find your way into the next objective and will realize how easy the solution really was. If you’re really stumped, you can quickly go to Miiverse and see if someone else has the same problem with a puzzle, or you can just ask the community about hints on what to do by posting a screen shot of the area you are in. The community is very friendly, and you will surely find a solution. I’ve even taken some time to helped players who are stuck.

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As an added bonus, later in the year there will be an update to the game to introduce the level editor that Two Tribes mentioned in my interview with them last year. Once that is available players will be able to create their own puzzles and hopefully have the possibility to share them with the community. While you’re waiting for the level editor to come out, read my March 2012 and August 2012 interviews with Two Tribes to see how the game changed and evolved and to appreciate how much work goes into making a polished game.

Toki Tori 2 is a fun puzzle game that is easy to learn but hard to master. Both expert and casual gamers should be successful in their progression through the game thanks to the mix of easy puzzles in the normal route and hard ones off of the beaten path that reward advanced players with hidden collectibles or shortcuts. You can expect to play for 8 to 12 hours before you complete the main game and completionists can expect to almost double that time.