REVIEW: Toki Tori (Switch)

A timeless kosher classic.

Easter may have already passed, but the real egg-collecting begins here. Two Tribes had already released the beloved sequel, Toki Tori 2+, just over a month ago with sweet Switch treats. Toki Tori has received the same since it made a dazzling appearance on Wii. With over 80 levels, crisp HD visuals, many hours of gameplay and an introductory price of $4.99, with 10% off until April 13, this polished golden egg is practically a steal and deserves a snug place in the Switch library of puzzle fans.

I’m sure fans can already hear the music.

Switching worlds, really.

After being greeted to what is a very brief load screen and then the title screen itself, you are immediately taken to a world selection list, each one of five containing their own set of themed levels and difficulty challenges. Whenever making any selection, moving the cursor provides a subtle haptic feedback from the HD rumble which feels nice. Within the normal challenges required to complete in order to unlock the next world, Hard and Bonus tabs are also present. Completing halfway through the 12 levels in each world will unlock bonus levels and completing all 12 will unlock additional hard levels to test and twist your mind. The levels themselves ramp up in challenge in creative ways of taking what you have learned previously and applying them in new ways which will have you trying what method of action works.

Toki Tori does a fine job of always letting you know which new enemy to look out for and how a new item you’ll be getting for the first time works. These little tips beforehand encourages the player and in doing so players should never to be left confused from that alone. Confusion in general falls on the player handling a tougher challenge, which are bound to be some, though never unfair in any regard. In levels where you obtain a new item, sometimes middle progress within a world, the challenge is lessened down to usually a much easier level than the one you played just before it. This is done for you to basically get a firm grasp on the item before moving on. Not a big deal, but it’s still mostly one & done. The remaining levels and challenges make up for it.

“Oozes with charm”

Chick need not fly, to reach very high.

Toki Tori is classic puzzle-platforming at its finest. This type of gameplay reminds me of HAL Laboratory‘s own Adventures of Lolo trilogy on NES, but modernized; a high praise. The result is plenty of uniquely designed levels at the player’s disposal. Levels are dense with scenarios needing to be solved properly, such as how to deal with an enemy, where to create platforms, among other situations. There is no end goal — at least not blatantly — to each level. The main objective is to collect all of the eggs within them. Many times eggs can be collected in different orders, but sometimes you’ll know just when a particular egg is needed to be collected last. Puzzles are designed in a way to, in my experience, visually set you up for what you think you should do even when it ends up not being the solution. Varied from level to level you are given a set of items, each with a limited use. Since Toki Tori cannot jump and is limited to floating down from a higher platform and climbing ladders, items are a central focus to solving puzzles.

Some items have a limitless amount of usage, however, such as the Freeze-o-Matic – a gun that can turn an enemy into an ice block. It’s not always the case that you’ll be able to use Freeze-o-Matic as much as you’d like as it, too, can have limited shots depending on the level. Even if there is no limit, the levels are designed in such ways that you need to be mindful of who you are shooting and when. An ice block may stop an enemy from hurting you (one hit and it’s death), but at the same time it may block (heh) your path. Parts of levels can be solved using different items, but you’ll find out that they’re temporary solutions if you’ve chosen incorrectly. An ice block may give you a platform to step on, but it may have been needed elsewhere. Toki Tori can also use items that create a square rock to fill in a gap to use as a platform and even create bridges to do the same.

Reading the level layout is crucial in these moments because while some items can serve the same function, running out of one for its exclusive use means you’ve made an error. Luckily, you aren’t punished to restart the entire level if you wish. There’s a Rewind feature which lets you skim backwards (and forwards) your entire progress in that level up to that point in segments, allowing you to choose just where you would like to pick up from. A perfect convenience. It even resembles an effect of a Videocassette Recorder (I know, ask your parents).

 

 

Though mostly unnoticeable, the mechanics play on a grid. Spacial awareness is key. Movement and objects, items included, will always factor into which block space it’s currently in. To give an example, Toki Tori himself behaves as a 2×2 “object”. Part of the clever puzzles created revolve around this feature and creates a level of precision in its design.

Note: Don’t try this at home with real chickens.

The cheesy moon reeks of attention.

 

The worlds are themed differently and the art is colorful and very easy on the eyes. Plenty of foreground and background details either light up the scene or make it feel alive. Groups of luminescent butterflies, in different sizes, will flutter across the sunlight will seep in, bubbles will flow constantly in the water levels, ripples distort Toki Tori & enemies and other particles will float around. Animations are nice and the models have a CG quality to them, much like the sequel, although definitely zoomed out more here.

Since it’s likely you’ll take your time on certain levels, it’s nice that it isn’t exactly static. With that said, the soundtrack is easily another strong point and compliments the entire experience rather well. When you find yourself going from puzzle to puzzle, a repetitive structure where it sounds puzzley might not always be the best choice. You know, that time trial/mystery/gee-we’re-clearly-making-you-feel-puzzled music? That’s not the case here. The soundtrack in Toki Tori always feels adventurous and the songs are all very charmingly catchy. The clean 1080p docked resolution and 60fps gameplay are also worth noting. HD rumble has a subtle use, but sometimes that’s all it’s meant to do. The footage you see in this review are also captured via the Switch.

Summary
Toki Tori is classic puzzle-platforming at its best. Levels are never cheap in design and solving them feels rewarding. The occasional "ohh yeah" moment may happen. The music and visuals bring out the charm of this series and with the amount of levels for you to challenge yourself, it's one the best deals on the eShop. 5 dollars or euros gets you a polished gem.
The Stellar
  • Juicy soundtrack.
  • Clever and fun puzzles that can twist the mind.
  • Cute, vibrant art style.
  • Plenty of levels.
The Lesser
  • Item selection should be more noticeable for colorblind folks.
9
Must Play
Gameplay - 9
Visual - 8.5
Audio - 9
Value - 9.5

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