Originally seeing a release in 2013 on Wii U, Toki Tori 2 refreshed an existing formula without sacrifice to its known style of gameplay. Since then, publisher & developer Two Tribes continued to make adjustments to the game and improve it to be an even more polished experience. Now having made its way onto Nintendo Switch, Toki Tori 2+ adds extra bells & whistles which is further enhancement. This small chicken certainly walks the walk.
What makes Toki Tori 2+ a pleasant experience is that it immerses you in its simplicity. From the onset, you are shown the only two actions you need to perform; singing and stomping. While the inputs are displayed as A & B, they are also mapped to the other face buttons and triggers so you can find an ideal combination that is the most comfortable. Players take control of the narrow-eyed, egg-shaped chickadee by navigating him through interconnected levels by solving puzzles in the environment. Though only having two commands makes the mechanics simple in nature, Two Tribes made sure to utilize them cleverly in just about every aspect of gameplay. Usually, players would be have to check menus to check a status or look at HUD elements regarding the quantity of pick-ups, etc, but Toki Tori 2+ doesn’t bog down the progression with texts and numbers. In-fact, aside from occasional dialog when the light story kicks in, players are only meant to push on through the levels in the world, yet everything you need to know is tied in with the actual gameplay.
Our yellow mascot is the maestro of his own journey by interacting with creatures, such as frogs, bugs & birds, to help him advance. Players can sing to immediately grab the attention of an animal and have them follow Toki Tori or have an animal oppose a direction by stomping instead. You will need to read the environment and see what will work. While these creatures will respond to Toki Tori’s actions, they also interact with other creatures as well and most of the puzzles are required to be solved this way. For instance, frogs love to eat bugs and when one is in their sight they will immediately hop towards it and gulp it down. Once they do, they remain stationary while bloated with air, but a stomp to the ground will create a burp bubble that can float Toki Tori (and other creatures) to higher platforms. You will often know the basics and figure out a solution, but no puzzle is ultimately the same. They’re never unfair in any way, but there will certainly be some that are both trial & error and head-scratchers that once you solve them leaves a satisfying feeling. Eventually you are pushed to go in a direction for your next objective, but Toki Tori 2+ is littered with secrets and extra areas that reward you when you take a different path in a level.
Creatures are also your allies, but you can get hurt if you’re not careful. Most of the enemies you will encounter will be underground or in caves. They can be avoided for the most part — actually, I should say they must be avoided. There are scenarios where they are easily provoked causing an instant death requiring you to start from the last checkpoint. You will see an area of effect whenever singing or stomping is performed. Singing is the easiest way attract attention, but stomping also vibrates the air around you. The effect will wrap around corners of the environment as well. The game makes good use of elements such as water and light, for example. Your animal allies will stop dead in their tracks scared of the dark and only go where there is light. Likewise, water has more than one effect when it reacts to certain creatures or parts of the environment. You’ll notice that you will be collecting a lot of gold wings during your playthrough. With no way to see how many you have and what purpose it serves you will be questioning why they are necessary until eventually the answer presents itself. It should be noted that they permanently disappear after they are picked up so long as it saves, such as completing a level or reaching a checkpoint.
Speaking of checkpoints, new to the Switch version is the ability to spawn one. Should you find yourself stuck, you can sing a specific song to create only one checkpoint anywhere you are standing, though a new one can be created in its place. This is also just one song of a handful. Singing has a few functions to help you. As I mentioned earlier about gameplay mechanics replacing menu choices, singing provides visual information. Tapping A will create a specific note, but holding A will create a different note. On your journey, you will learn new songs if you mimic the notes you see by another birdy who’s singing. They’re short and simple to remember so there’s nothing to worry about. One song will briefly show you the direction of where gold wings can be found in a level. Another song will serve as a fast travel which will bring up a map. While you’re there on the map, the same tune for where gold wings can be found can also be sung on the map in addition to singing within a level, which will show you a trail making it easier for you to know where to start looking. Eventually you will be able to call a bird who is holding a camera. You can guide this bird capturing photos of objects and creatures in the world to fill out your Tokidex, which is just one of the extra activities provided.
Toki Tori 2+ makes sure you have enough to do and has new discoveries to be found. When progressing linearly the game ramps up how clever the puzzles become until you finish the story, but levels also come with backtracking and secrets. There’s an in-game achievement list if that’s your thing. There’s additional secret areas to go for if you enjoy extra puzzles to solve just to access them. The main game can be around 6-10 hours depending on the type of player if you’re just going straight and doing the story. The extra stuff will double that. I went out of my way to look for secrets and solve puzzles and I still only had about 25% of the secret areas found after I finished the game.
The Nintendo Switch features are being used quite well here. The game is 1080p when docked / 720p in handheld and always runs at a buttery 60fps in both. The game also shows off beautiful HD art depicting lush grassy areas with different types of flowers, volcanic regions, dark caverns and forests. The original Toki Tori had a panned out view with level design which looked like it was meant to be constructed as a puzzle, but the sequel has a more open, zoomed-in visual style with level design that looks more natural and connected to a single large world. Often the backdrop of a level will highlight what’s coming later. The character models themselves look particularly great, as if rendered as CG models. It reminds me of what Rareware did for the Donkey Kong Country series on SNES, but for the HD era. Their animations are adorable. A mother bird who carries you to her nest and is happy about it because you’re probably “safe” is cute. Sonic Picnic, who provided the music, had me whistling even when I wasn’t playing. The music can be charming at times. HD rumble feels great and the videos you see here were captured using the Switch itself.