Following on from the success of Toki Tori, the second game in the series is now available and takes a slightly different route. There is a plot of sorts but it’s left to the player to decipher. From what we can make out you must try and get your little yellow bird to meet up with his friends during some strange catastrophe which is afflicting the land where they live.
Toki Tori 2 is a brave departure from the first game in the series. Now there are no items to collect in order to solve puzzles and everything is dealt with via skills dished out during the game. That said, your basic skill set won’t evolve much from start to finish. Toki Tori has a whistle or tweet he can use and a ground stomp. These skills are generally used to move animals closer to you or further away from you. Players must think how to best use these skills within their environment in order to progress.
Whistling certain tunes also activate various skills but these don’t really affect the level based puzzles. Most of the time these amount to checking where you are on a map or returning to the last save point and resetting the puzzle. That isn’t to say that there is no variety. As you progress the two basic skills are utilised in a number of different ways. Sometimes the whistle is needed to get fire flies to follow you in order to illuminate dangerous paths, while at others it’s to get bubble blowing frogs to face the right way. The stomp also has different functions. Stomping in water for instance will send splashes out to short circuit electric bugs, while at other times it can be used to break floors or knock creatures off the ceiling.
There is certainly an inventive and playful use of the two core skills and it’s commendable that the team had the faith to build a game around them without feeling the need to continually add something else into the mix. While the game is certainly fairly sedately paced we certainly didn’t feel that puzzles were becoming repetitive and often found short goes turning into much longer sessions as we tried to push on to the next checkpoint.
One of the biggest problems of the game is the lack of direction. There’s no real plot as such but where it can become frustrating is the lack of guidance given early on. Very little is explained to the player and while large parts of the game are common sense and easily identified via trial and error, we can see players getting stuck at points and having absolutely no idea what to do. That said there is certainly a charming game here and there isn’t really anything else like I around at the moment. It reminds us of a long lost Amiga puzzle platformer (which is a good thing).
Overall, Toki Tori 2+ offers a fun and colourful experience. It won’t be to everyone’s taste but if you are looking for something to test your brain against at a leisurely pace then this could well be the one for you. It was a brave move to head away from the formula of the first game and for the most part is works. It does take a little getting used to but once the game clicks it’s an enjoyable adventure that’s well worth a look.