Some mascot-based puzzlers refuse to go away. This seems to be the case with Toki Tori, the adorable platforming puzzle game from Dutch developer Two Tribes B.V. After originally hitting the Game Boy Color all the way back in 2001, this fan favorite has bounced around from cell phones to the Wii to the PC. And now, 12 years after first hitting consoles, Toki Tori is finally coming to the PlayStation 3 in the best-looking version yet.
Named for the lead character, Toki Tori tells the story of a young chick who will stop at nothing to save his unhatched brothers and sisters from the harsh world. He must travel through four different worlds, each with their own enemies and abilities to learn. With a little luck and a good sense for puzzle solving, our hero can save the day and deliver the missing eggs back to the chicken coop.
Toki Tori's lost eggs are scattered across dozens of increasingly difficult stages, each with their own set of unique obstacles. The good news is that every level plays out the same way, with our beaked hero collecting every last egg. Anything short of that is a complete failure, so it's important to figure out a way to collect each egg in the level. Usually there's only one right path, as taking the eggs out of order will mean getting stuck and not being able to complete the stage.
Thankfully, Toki Tori has a few tricks that will make avoiding enemies and obstacles a whole lot easier. For example, the young chick is able to assemble a small bridge to avoid falling in pits. He has also mastered the ability to teleport through walls, even if it's only a short distance.
There are also a number of chapter-specific abilities to learn. Early on, our hero uses an ice gun to freeze his enemies in their tracks. Later, in the Creepy Castle, Toki Tori uses ghosts to destroy parts of the floor. In yet another stage, we are able to suck up and use slugs to our advantage. But just like building bridges and teleporting, the player only has a limited amount of abilities to use in any one level.
Instead of having to restart the stage after each mistake, Toki Tori allows players to simply rewind time. This allowed for a freedom of experimentation, because I never felt like I was going to get stuck. Even if I made the wrong move, I could always rewind time back a few seconds and try a different tactic. Toki Tori can die, but even that can be erased with simple time travel.
Even with the appearance of ghosts and monsters, Toki Tori has a nice casual feel to it. The action never moves too fast and split-second reflexes are rarely required. For a game about kidnapped eggs, this PlayStation 3 puzzler lacks any form of urgency. This is more about figuring out the right path and when to use your limited resources.
In that sense, Toki Tori would have probably been better suited on the PS Vita. The game's slow pace is a good fit for the handheld, which explains its success on the Game Boy Color and iPhone. On the other hand, I can't imagine this game looking any better than it does on the PlayStation 3. The visuals pop and the optional 3D effects are tastefully done.
Even though there are only four different locations, Toki Tori is overflowing with puzzles to solve. Not only does each chapter have a dozen levels to outsmart, but expert players will also find a new group of harder puzzles and bonus stages. And at only five dollars, there's a lot of game for not much money.
There's a reason Toki Tori refuses to go away, and it may have something to do with the solid core mechanics and likable character. And I suppose the low price point and great visuals don't hurt. Either way, Toki Tori offers a good value for fans of casual puzzle games. With any luck, PlayStation 3 owners will eventually see Toki Tori 2.
* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company for review.
It's questionable how accurate this is, but this is all that's known about Cyril Lachel: A struggling writer by trade, Cyril has been living off a diet of bad games, and a highly suspect amount of propaganda. Highly cynical, Cyril has taken to question what companies say and do, falling ever further into a form of delusional madness. With the help of quality games, and some greener pastures on the horizon, this back-to-basics newsman has returned to provide news so early in the morning that only insomniacs are awake.