Tuesday, February 27

Review: Toki Tori 2+ [Nintendo Switch eShop]


Obviously platformers are a staple of Nintendo systems, so doing things in a way that is new and different tends to be a challenge. To make things a little more difficult is the problem that new and different doesn’t always equate to accessible or great, so innovation is a bit like rocket science. A great example of this dynamic comes in the form of Toki Tori 2+, featuring your somewhat oversized chick who isn’t terribly versatile but who, with a little ingenuity, can do just enough to make its way through a host of increasingly-challenging levels.


Unlike many traditional platformers where your character has a pretty impressive set of moves, here you start out with a humble whistle and a stomp. On the one hand this is a bit on the limiting side but on the other it means that your time will be spent more on puzzle-solving and managing the various animals and bugs that are around you rather than using your acrobatic prowess directly to get by. The tricky part is that the game has very little in the way of training wheels so you’ll often need to experiment a bit and perhaps have a few leaps of faith in order to progress, even in relatively early levels.

In order to help alleviate some of the frustrations with repetition, and realizing you’ve done something wrong that requires the level to be reset, the game has a pretty brilliant system involving specific songs you can sing that are learned early on. Using one of these you can essentially roll back to the last checkpoint, but the ability to set your own can be a real lifesaver in particular. The reason the game needs these is that herding your “cats” (in this case birds, frogs, bugs, etc) at times can be a bit of a chore and you’ll need to work quickly and carefully to be sure everything happens in the right sequence with the right timing to get through certain puzzles. With this game, more than most, patience really is a virtue and you’ll find that slow and steady execution will typically win over simply trying to rush to get things done.


That does play into what may be the dividing line of who will enjoy the game and who won’t. If you’re patient and careful, willing to see the pieces of the plan in front of you and then meticulously execute it this may be your cup of tea. If you’re a bit more impatient, seeing roughly what the solution would be, but then are just trying to get it over with I’m inclined to think you’re more likely to find it plodding and aggravating. To it’s credit the game requires you to slowly evolve your thinking and to experiment to divine solutions to your problems without being explicitly prompted. For people who like a challenge this is a huge plus, just once you understand the solution at hand the game can sometimes get bogged down in the execution, which is a bit of a shame.

Thoughtful types who enjoy a good head-scratcher and can take their time to execute will likely find Toki Tori 2+ to be a delight. It’s bright, cheery, colorful, and chock full of its own unique flavor of puzzle platforming that’s not for the faint of heart. People who err on the side of action will more likely want to consider giving it a pass though since you’re more of a facilitator than an action start in this adventure. All that said it’s a unique offering on the Switch and will provide hours of puzzle-solving enjoyment with a formula I haven’t seen before.


Score: 7.5

Pros:
  • Bright, cheery, polished, and positive
  • Does quite a lot with its deliberately minimal moveset
  • Since its original release refinements have been made to improve accessibility

Cons:
  • While the lack of training wheels spelling out techniques is appreciated at times it stinks to find yourself stuck and unsure what you’re supposed to be doing
  • When you understand what needs to be done but mess up the execution resetting and trying again can sap time