Toki Tori 2+, an unlikely hero

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A recent setback forced me to step back from something I love doing, and I chose instead of giving up in this arena, to pursue it in a slightly different, perhaps not optimal way. Fresh from this setback, I began playing Toki Tori 2+…

In video games, the player is often tasked with saving the world. We are given heroic shoes to fill, plumbers who can leap to fantastic heights while shooting fireballs, space marines with powerful plasma rifles and regenerating health. In Toki Tori 2, the player controls a yellow chicken who can do two things; Whistle a long or short note, and jump up a few inches and Stomp into the ground.

You’re probably thinking, at least with the Stomp move I can jump on enemies heads and crush them. Nope. The hapless hero chicken can’t even jump up high enough to clear even a small ledge. This vulnerability makes this metroidvaniaesque platformer challenging, as the player must rely on a limited skill set to solve challenges in the environment.

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As the player, you will quickly learn that that each of the two actions have an effect on the environment and creatures nearby. A Whistle will bring a hermit crab inside a block closer, allowing you to cross a chasm, and a Stomp sends it away. A frog-like creature will burp a bubble after you slam next to it that carries up higher, but ONLY after you feed it a smaller creature that you often must guide to the burp frog.

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All of the stages, and there are quite a few of them, are designed well. Colors are crisp and bright, although scenery will be in the foreground and background, there is never any question where the player can interact. The stages are also well designed for the puzzles. Although not always readily apparent what combination of steps is necessary, the scenery never gets in the way of puzzling out the solution. Game physics also work great, everything moves predictably, no jankiness to worry about. The player can navigate through the stages by doorways between levels, finding hidden entrances, and a fast travel system is introduced mid-game.

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You won’t collect items as the game progresses, but you will learn songs that you can play with the right combination of long and short Whistles. I don’t want to give away what the different songs can do, but I will mention one. One song summons a camera bird, and you can use it to take pictures for the games collectible system, the TokiDex. The game rewards getting a picture of every creature in the game, and completing the TokiDex adds game time for players who want it.

Verdict: Recommended for younger players.

The game never rushes the player, there is plenty of time to survey the scene and decide on the best course of action. There is even a song the player can Whistle to reset the environment if things go wrong. Checkpoints are generous in the event of infrequent death. The crisp colors and lighthearted soundtrack are welcoming, and the map is large enough for a good amount of exploration without being overwhelming. Toki Tori 2+ is a fun to play, challenging, and has a great message.

Toki Tori 2+ gently teaches two things. Actions have consequences, and even if you are a weak chicken, you can save the world with a little help from your friends.

A copy of Toki Tori 2+ was provided for review. As always, you can hear more about this and other games I’m playing on the Plug and Play podcast.

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