Toki Tori is one really good egg

Posted: May 21, 2009 in Platformer, Puzzle

Watching the game trailer and reading the pre-release hype, my expectations were minimal when it came to Toki Tori. How fun could it be to move a bird around a screen collecting eggs? After spending some time with this, Toki Tori is not only a solid game, it delivers high entertainment value worth every cent.

Toki Tori is not a traditional platformer which is actually a good thing. This is an elaborate puzzle game where your objective is to collect all the eggs in each level before you’re allowed to progress to the next level. The game has four worlds with a total of 80 levels: Forest Falls, Creepy Castle, Slimy Sewer, and Bubble Barrage. With the exception of the first level in Forest Falls, all the worlds are locked.

Visually, Toki Tori looks great from the animation and smooth framerates to the jovial soundtrack. One thing that caught me off guard initially is that there are no instructions with only a barebones menu included. However, you do receive occasional pop-up dialog windows at the beginning of some levels that provide a quick tutorial. It’s not ideal, but not a big deal either.

The controls are easy and intuitive (two words I like when describing controls):
* Tap where you want Toki to go (arrows appear to show the direction Toki can move)
* To pan, use two fingers and drag the screen
* Pinch to zoom in and out (provides a nice overview of the map and freezes the action)
* Use tilt to turn Toki in the desired direction (you don’t have to use this or set anything; this is part of Toki’s abilities)

An additional control scheme may something to consider since people with bigger fingers may have trouble with tapping to move. Some areas are small, and while I didn’t have any issues, I can see it being one for others. Also, when you pan to a certain location, it will automatically return to the original spot of Toki after a few seconds. What would be ideal is if this were more of a manual process where you had the control to move it back especially if you’re considering your next move.

Toki is not a completely unarmed bird and by progressing through levels, tools/items are provided. These tools are the following:

Bridge—build a path across gaps
Telewarp—transport from one location to another
Freeze-o-matic—turns enemies into ice cubes
Brick Switch—move stacks of bricks
Ghost Trap—creates a hole that ghosts drop through
Slug Sucker—removes slugs by sucking them up
Instant Rock—becomes an extra step or fills gaps
Bubble Suit—allows Toki to swim underwater

Also, a Wildcard is available which allows for skipping a level. I didn’t have any idea what this was initially, but you only have one to use at a time. And, additional Wildcards are only given when you complete the level that was previously skipped. This is a nice option because some of these levels can be challenging, and it helps to step away for a little while.

Toki will come across various obstacles that potentially can trap him, and a straight line is hardly ever the right path to take. Also, each world has its own resident enemy.

Porcupine—Forest Falls
Ghost—Creepy Castle
Slug—Slimy Sewer
Fish—Bubble Barrage

An intro appears before each level that shows the # of eggs to be collected and the available tools. When a number appears by a tool, this signifies a limited number of uses. Without a number means unlimited usage in that level. On the gameplay screen, you have various gauges to track. In the upper right-hand corner is the egg count showing the remaining number of eggs to be collected. And an Item Bar, which shows items/tools that can be used for that level. Under Options, you can set this bar to either appear down the left or right side of the screen. To use these tools, you tap on them and follow the on-screen prompt.

The game is simply a lot of fun, and you will find yourself stumped on some levels. There are moments in the game when Toki is idle, and he will whip out a map or grow a beard waiting for you next move, so there’s a nice dose of humor. The gameplay is smooth, polished, and really well thought out. If Toki touches an enemy, the level is automatically over, and if you get stuck, you can always restart the level. Keep in mind that falling doesn’t harm Toki since he is a bird, and he’ll simply glide downwards. I have had no issues with the controls in moving or climbing, and for me, they are spot on. There is essentially no learning curve, and you should be able to pick this up and play right away.

Beyond some of the minor issues with the skimpy menu and other cosmetic items, Toki Tori is a solid game—there’s no other way to put it. If you like puzzles with a simple, yet challenging objective, you can’t go wrong with this.

Albie Meter: 5 Stars (recommended for people who like puzzles and want a game that looks good; this game is done well)

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