Published on March 26th, 2013 | by Darik Kirschman2
Whistle while you Toki Tori 2
Toki Tori 2 has been a long time coming. Originally slated for a Wii U launch on the eShop before being delayed to December, the adorable baby chicken finally hatches on April 4th for Nintendo’s latest console. Speaking with the game’s creator, Martijn Reuvers, it’s clear that Toki Tori 2 is a labor of love — one that is incredibly satisfying to play.
Toki Tori 2 is, at its core, a puzzle adventure game in a similar vein to Castlevania. You control a young, freshly hatched chick named Toki Tori, whose island home has been infected by a mysterious black goo. Puzzles are placed all around the game world and require using the unique island creatures to solve them.
Toki Tori has two abilities: whistling and stomping. Reuvers told me that throughout the main adventure, the player will learn about five unique songs, each with a different power or effect upon the world at large. For example, I was progressing through the first area rather quickly, but ended up falling down into an area I was unable to escape from. Luckily, a small bird was chirping a particular melody. After a bit of trial and error, I followed the pattern and was whisked away to the last checkpoint! These sort of “Ah-Hah!” moments are what Two Tribes is striving for and they are sprinkled throughout the game. The satisfaction of reaching the next checkpoint or area far outweighs any potential frustration the player might face on the road to solving the puzzle — at least that’s what the developers are hoping.
When asked about the amount of levels or puzzles that are in the game, Reuvers was hesitant to answer. Instead, he provided me with the explanation that Toki Tori 2 doesn’t quite work on a level system. There are areas that you travel to in an overworld map of sorts, filled with your typical varied ecosystems and environments, but each area is a large, open world with puzzles organically placed into them. Players can control their chirpy chicken through the entire main quest, only encountering the challenges Two Tribes placed within the direct route and entirely miss alternate pathways and harder, more intricate puzzles. Two Tribes is actively encouraging the more industrious gamers to go back and explore to find hidden secrets, collectibles and obstacles, effectively creating an indirect difficulty selection.
Upon playing the demo, it occurred to me that aside from the title sequence, Toki Tori 2 had absolutely no text. It was a refreshing change of pace from some of the larger titles on the market, and it further drives home the point of trial and error; players actual learn what the developers intended, without it being spelled out. There’s a real sense of connection between the player and the game designers while helping Toki Tori traverse the world. I got a feeling for what they wanted me to do through implied actions and hints, rather than overt text bubbles or long, drawn out dialogue and cutscenes. Anyway, it’d be sort of weird to see a young chicken spouting one-liners or quips disguised as hints.
All in all, Toki Tori 2 is just one of the many reasons to check out the Wii U eShop in the coming months. With absolutely gorgeous animations and equally wonderful gameplay, it’s shaping up to be one of the standout titles for the service and the console as a whole. Plus, there’s a button that is devoted to whistling! It’s adorable! Our young, yellow hero hatches on April 4th, with a Steam release later this year.