Preview: Toki Tori 2 (Wii U / PC)

01Toki Tori 2 is almost upon us! Two Tribes has completed development, the game has been sent to Nintendo for approval, and we’ve played through over an hour of the latest PC build, to bring you our first impressions.

Although the original Toki Tori game – which made its début as a quirky Game Boy Color puzzle-platformer in 2002 – has since been re-released on seemingly every platform known to man, Toki Tori 2 is the first true expansion into the little yellow chick’s universe, and it’s coming to Wii U later this month. Times have changed since 2002, though, and Toki Tori 2 is a noticeably different game to its predecessor.

Perhaps the biggest change in Toki Tori 2 is the lack of items. No more power-ups, tools, or whatever you want to call them – just Toki Tori’s ability to stomp and whistle. While this may sound restrictive in the sense that it might narrow down potential solutions to puzzles, it does quite the contrary. Toki Tori’s world is filled with fellow creatures – frogs, hermit crabs and birds all make an appearance in the opening few levels – and each one reacts differently to Toki Tori’s actions. Generally, stomping scares these creatures and forces them to move away from you, while a whistle does the opposite and draws them closer.

04

Puzzles start off very simple as you’re introduced to the game’s mechanics and story, but they soon get tricky. Within the hour, you’ll have temporarily left the opening’s lush forest scenario, as the game throws you into a cave and introduces a new type of creature – the fireflies. These light up a small area around themselves, and must be manipulated in conjunction with other animals that happen to be scared of the dark, and thus only respond to your stomps and whistles while they are within the safe retreat of a firefly’s light. With such clever and thought-provoking puzzles early on, it leaves us excited by the potential of the new creatures and gameplay quirks to come, if also a little worried that the game will end up a little too tricky for some to enjoy – especially as the original game got notoriously hard in places.

05With that said, gone are the original Toki Tori’s menus and linear level design. In the upcoming sequel, each stage is linked to the next, with multiple exits meaning you can potentially take an easier path through the game if you’re struggling, or a harder route if you’re finding it too easy. How this will pan out in the grand scheme of things obviously remains to be seen, although it’s an undeniably clever method in making the game accessible to the widest possible audience – from expert puzzle players to series/genre newcomers – in that it aims to neither patronise the former, nor intimidate the latter.

02Another key feature is Toki Tori 2′s distinct lack of words. Aside from the title which is shown during the opening sequence, the game portrays its story, and instructs the player, entirely through the gameplay itself. Definitely an ambitious approach to a puzzle-platformer then, yet one that Two Tribes has – on first impressions – nailed. Within a few minutes of gameplay you’ll know how to interact with the world, and you’ll have an idea as to what you’re out to achieve – despite never being explicitly told.

Toki Tori 2 is certainly one to look out for in the coming weeks. All being well, it’ll live up to our first impressions, and become the first of many in the next stream of great Wii U eShop titles. Here’s hoping!

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Many thanks to Two Tribes for providing us with pre-release access to the game.
Toki Tori 2 is heading to the Nintendo eShop for Wii U later this month, and Steam at a later date.

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