Developer: Two Tribes
Publisher: Two Tribes
Release Date: 30 March 2018
Price: $4.49 / £4.49
Reviewed by Josh Brant
Why did the chicken cross the road? Well, in this instance to save his unhatched family eggs. This is a simple joke for sure, but it goes great with developer Two Tribes’ puzzle title Toki Tori. The point of this game is to figure out the best route to collect all the eggs in sight. This little chicken is charming to watch as he moves along your screen, and while this back-to-basics puzzler is simple in execution, it ends up being deceptively inventive and creative throughout.
Believe it or not, Toki Tori was originally released back in 2001 for the Game Boy Color, before being remastered for Wii, Wii U and a bunch of other consoles. The gameplay and style of the game have remained the same from its earliest form, but the beautiful HD shine from the most recent iterations has never looked better on the Switch. It should be noted that this title is a great departure from the recently released Toki Tori 2+ on the Switch, and thankfully this is not a bad thing.
The main goal is to lead Toki across 80+ levels in order to save his fellow chicks who have not hatched yet from their eggs. Your little bird is unable to jump or fly, so you will need to use all the tools at your disposal in order to solve the obstacle filled levels. The pacing can seem slow at times, but the deliberate traversal can help you figure out how to proceed. There is a certain trial-and-error component to Toki Tori and, fortunately, there is no penalty for failing. Just rewind to a trouble spot or restart the level entirely.
You control Toki with either the left analog stick or d-pad and there are commands you unlock as you complete the puzzles, adding complexity to what appears to be a simple title. Toki is able to build short bridges, teleport, and even freeze enemies with his gradually introduced abilities, which can be used a set number of times in each stage.
If you manage to get stuck (and you will), you can either restart from the beginning or simply rewind your progress by holding down the Y button to go back to exactly where you made the mistake. This is a great inclusion for the Switch as it manages to decrease frustration, yet doesn’t need to be used if you prefer more of a challenge.
When starting Toki Tori, the visuals give off a charming and inviting aesthetic, but with the abilities you earn, this quickly becomes a much deeper puzzler than you'd originally think. Sometimes you won’t be able to get up a platform, so you'll need to use the teleportation ability to reach your destination or create platforms to get to a higher ledge.
Along with this, the physics in Toki Tori meld well with the puzzle-like structure of the title. When falling, the descent is slowed down by the flapping of Toki’s wings, and puts some strategy into where you want to drop him. With Toki being unable to jump, these decisions become more important in the later levels.
On top of the normal levels, you can unlock a set of harder stages and bonus levels. The regular stages are already difficult enough, so having additional challenges to test your puzzle solving skills is welcome. If you really get stuck on a troubling level, you can use a ‘Wildcard’ option. This automatically allows you to travel to the next level, but be warned; you can only use this once, and you can only earn the ‘Wildcard’ option again by completing the level you used it for.
Overall, Toki Tori is a clever and deceptively deep puzzler that feels perfect on the Switch. You can’t judge a book by its cover, and you shouldn’t judge this little chicken on how cute he looks. Toki Tori gets fairly intense as the levels get more challenging, but the addictive and simple gameplay, plus the cleverly-crafted stages, really make this an enjoyable experience.
Pros & Cons
+ Simple, yet deep puzzle gameplay
+ Delightful tone and aesthetic
+ Clever puzzles to solve
- No touch controls
- Slow, deliberate pacing