The gorgeous puzzle-platformer invites players with its unique push and pull mechanic.
Toki Tori 2 stars a yellow "chicken" who must navigate an island that's been infected by toxic goo. While Toki Tori 2's primary goal mirrors the original's -- get the bird to the goal -- the mechanics have been totally reinvented and simplified. Throughout the entire game, Toki Tori has only two abilities, singing and a butt-stomp -- he can't even jump. The game dispenses with all forms of text, encouraging players to experiment with the environment. Singing entices other creatures in the world toward Toki Tori, while butt-stomping scares them away. For example, these two mechanics can be used to maneuver platform carrying crabs around the level so that Toki Tori can pass obstacles.
I was impressed at how the game doles out puzzles in a way that encourages experimentation and rewards ingenuity. While all abilities are available from the beginning, the game incrementally introduces new situations to players, where players must use them in specific sequences to reach goals in different ways. Levels are filled with puzzle pieces to collect and secret areas are hidden even in the earlier levels but players may not learn how to reach them until they've learned advanced techniques later in the game. There may even be multiple secret areas layered in that take a number of carefully planned moves to access. The game certainly has a "what if I try this?" Zelda feel to it, and the developers have been monitoring play tests closely to see how easily players can solve the puzzles.
While singing a note brings characters closer, players will eventually learn to sing songs made up of short and long notes. These songs let players do things such as restart an area or take photos. The singing system is another way that the game removes menus and lets players feel more integrated with the environment.
Toki Tori 2's levels are 2D, but the levels exist in a 3D world so that you can see future levels in the background. The map screen is shown from high above and players move the GamePad around in the air to target and drop Toki Tori onto a level. Similarly, the GamePad is also used for a camera feature where players can take pictures of the creatures within the game. Players can "develop" the film, and these photos become part of a "Tokidex" beastiary of sorts. The game can also be played entirely on the GamePad.
The game includes a wide variety of environments of increasing challenge and danger. The characters start out friendly, but later levels introduce all manner of enemies and hazards. Though Toki Tori 2 appears as a platformer and certain actions must be taken with precision, the game is primarily about solving puzzles. The visuals are incredibly bright and clean and the sounds and music are integral to the experience.
Toki Tori 2's unorthodox platform puzzler features a rewarding system that encourages players to experience and experiment with their environment. This, coupled with a beautifully polished atmosphere, makes Two Tribes' latest endeavor one of the bright eShop releases that will ring in the new year.