Toki Tori 2+ for Wii U
The first impression of this game is one of absolute adorableness. This game is seriously cute. It’s also unbelievably hard, and gives almost nothing to the player. Much like with Pullblox, Toki Tori 2+ is a game with a childish aesthetic that left me more baffled than the vast majority of ‘adult’ games could ever claim.
In a lovely forest, a whole bunch of birds are kidnapped by a dark force, and the player is the bird who must rescue them, who is presumably named Toki Tori. That’s all there is to it, and it’s really enough. This game is confusing enough without any plot to get in the way!
Toki Tori 2+ is a puzzle game with Metroidvania elements. You cannot jump, and can instead only whistle or stomp. These two actions will affect the environment in different ways, such as whistling bringing certain animals towards you and stomping sending them away. The world of Toki Tori 2+ is filled with critters who must be interacted with and used in some frankly ingenious ways. Some animals even eat other animals to create new effects, such as the frog which can blow bubbles to carry our feathered protagonist around. There’s a strong element of exploration, with a world which can be approached in different ways and in a different order.
There may only be two moves in the game, but Toki Tori 2+ gets fiendishly complex. Some puzzles are infuriatingly arcane, but they all make sense by the internal laws of the game. It can be slightly hard to tell where you’re going, and the lack of hand holding meant that I frequently had no idea what to do or where to go. If this encouraged exploration that would be fine, but Toki Tori’s worlds are a series of puzzles, so simple wandering around is highly unappealing. I’m not someone who would normally argue this, but I wonder is this game might have benefited from being a more linear, level based experience. I think it would have meshed with the core gameplay mechanics slightly better.
Toki Tori 2+ is charm itself to look at, with the protagonist himself and all the surrounding critters looking suitable adorable. The music is sweet and lilting as well, with the sounds of the forest and the woodlands all being rather lovely. This is a very sweet game, all wrapped up in a very sweet package.
This is a game which could risk alienating almost everyone. It’s aesthetic may throw off ‘hardcore gamers’, but it’s punishing challenge will throw off ‘casual gamers.’ This, similarly to the PullBlox games, will appeal to those who like both. Toki Tori 2+ is a very strange game, but quite unique with simple but deep mechanics. Worth a try.