Thursday, March 29

Review: Toki Tori [Nintendo Switch eShop]

It’s always a bit unusual to return the the original game in a series after having played its sequel. There are cases where the enhancements and changes made make it a far different game but many times going back can also simply be hard because the sequel sanded down its predecessor’s rough edges. That said, it’s also great when the original continues to stand on its own and justifies why a sequel was made in the first place, which is very much the case when it comes to Toki Tori.

You will take control of the title little bird and, if you weren’t already familiar, work through a series of puzzles. While you’ll initially start out with only 1 skill at your disposal as you work your way through more and more of them new ones will be introduced periodically for you to add to your repertoire and master. In general the initial stage for each new skill added will give you an opportunity to understand its use, but then it is generally off to the races and you’ll be expected to be a quick learner.

As you move through each major world you’ll unlock new Hard and Bonus stages that step up the level of challenge substantially. While in many levels you’ll have a use limit on each skill, forcing you to carefully plan out your route and make efficient use of everything, in these tougher stages you generally don’t have those constraints. While this would seem to make things easier, it actually does quite the opposite. With limits the puzzles allow you to work your way backwards to a degree, since they don’t give you any “extras” to work with. Without limits it generally means what you’re looking to do will instead require a different level of planning and understanding of every bit of nuance the skills can offer, as mistakes will generally mean you need to start the level over since you can’t recover from them.

If there’s a downside to Toki Tori it’s probably just the potential for frustration for more casual puzzle fans. It doesn’t shy away from being challenging but that also makes it satisfying when you’re able to figure out something you were stumped on. One saving grace is that there’s a Wild Card you can use in the game to skip the current level, just keep in mind there’s only 1 to use so if you then get stumped on another you’ll need to go back and figure the previous level out in order to skip the new one. It’s a nice mechanic that lets you move on to something else and give yourself a break, but you’ll likely not be able to then ignore it completely.

Overall, especially when comparing the original to its sequel, Toki Tori stands very well on its own and is certainly a similar experience but very much a distinct one as well. If you’re new to the series it holds up as a challenging puzzle experience, and if you’ve played the sequel but missed the original it has plenty of its own ideas that aren’t shared to help it stand on its own. Throw in a very budget-friendly price and if you enjoy games with cute characters that will make you think it’s a worthwhile purchase.

Score: 8

  • Cute and cheery on the outside
  • Challenging and sometimes almost diabolical on the inside
  • The wild card system is a great feature for giving yourself a break, but only temporarily
  • A budget-friendly price
  • The more casual a puzzle gamer you are the more likely the level of challenge may frustrate you
  • While distinct from its sequel the proximity of this release may make it feel too similar