Impressions: Toki Tori 2

Our favorite webbed-footed chicken returns!

Last week, Gamescom happened. Announcements were being made, games were being played, people were being interviewed… and I was stuck at home preparing for the joys of scholastic education (yay?). Fortunately, Two Tribes remembered that not everyone can speak German, so they sent over the updated Gamescom/PAX build of Toki Tori 2 to their many wonderful fans, one of which was me! And thus I began playing the very first gameplay demo of Toki Tori 2.

Toki Tori 2 is, at its core, an environmental puzzle game, meaning that Toki Tori must use his (I think it’s a guy, right?) surroundings in order to solve puzzles and complete levels. Fans of the first Toki Tori will notice that this is a huge departure from the original’s item-based puzzle system; instead of using weapons and gadgets, Toki Tori must now use the animals around him to progress through the game.

Most of the puzzles in Toki Tori 2 are solved via the game’s “whistle ‘n stomp” mechanic. The idea here is simple: Toki Tori’s whistles and stomps will have varying effects depending on your surroundings. For example, whistling near a crab will attract him toward you, while stomping near the crab will scare him away. This mechanic alone makes for some really interesting puzzles, as you may encounter several instances in which you must time both your whistles and stomps perfectly in order to progress. I found this mecahnic to be quite clever, and hopefully, it’s something that will be explored to its full potential.

The demo I played consisted of two levels: a main overworld level and an underground level. Each level has different environmental factors that alter the gameplay. The overworld level, for example, is adorned with bushes that help Toki Tori hide from hungry predators, while the darkness of the underground level makes Toki Tori prone to ghost-like creatures if he doesn’t find a light source quickly. We’ve heard from Two Tribes that Toki Tori 2 is going to consist of one gigantic connected world, so I expect to see a wide variety of different environments when the game is released later this year.

One other mechanic found near the end of my demo was the “whistle tune” mechanic in which whistling a specific tune (i.e. long-short-short-long) will trigger a corresponding event. The tune that was introduced in the demo was the collectables tune (long-short-short-short) which pointed Toki Tori to the nearest collectable. Through I found that specific tune to be completely useless (the screen usually zooms out enough for you to see the collectables anyway), the thought of other tunes is exciting, a feeling that many Zelda fans are no doubt familiar with.

Overall, my experience with this version of Toki Tori 2 was a bit mixed. While I did enjoy the “whistle ‘n stomp” puzzles and applaud it for its creativity, I also found it to be a bit slow and just a tiny bit boring. But I think I know the reason why I feel this way – the game lacks threatening enemies. I remember when playing the original Toki Tori that I was half panicking and half scurrying around the stage in order to escape from enemies. The demo I played didn’t have crazy slime monsters or evil porcupines, but I’m guessing those will be added into the game by the time it comes out.

All in all, I think Toki Tori 2 is quite a clever little puzzler. It has an interesting concept behind it, something that, if used well, can prove to be wildly successful.

Toki Tori 2 launches on Steam, iOS, and Wii U eShop later this year.


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