Never judge a book by its cover, or a game by its cute fluffy main character. Toki Tori 2+ may look like a platform puzzle game designed for the casual gamer but it’s actually more akin to some demonic puzzle sent to frustrate and entertain in equal measure.
The sequel to Toki Tori, a Gameboy game published by Capcom, first appeared back on the Wii U, so developer Two Tribes are no stranger to Nintendo platforms. Toki Tori 2+ actually feels right at home on the Switch with its cute visuals and challenging gameplay.
The main character stands apart from those in other platform games by not really having a great deal of movement bar a slow waddling walk. Toki Tori therefore relies on two special powers, a whistle, which can attract or distract both enemies and helpful creatures, and a versatile stomp move. Even though you only have 2 special moves, the game makes the other characters into your extended move set instead. Encouraging frogs to blow bubbles or other animals to push rocks helps to make each level’s puzzle seem new and original, though these ideas are liberally re-used in different ways. This means that although the first few levels lull you in to a false sense of the game being fairly straight-forward, there are a huge number of way the developer has played with this limited move set to ensure that the puzzle element stands out and that later levels can be rock hard at times, often relying on ‘eureka’ moments (or trips to Google, if you’re really stuck!).
It helps. then, that the backgrounds are really well designed and worth spending some time appreciating (because often you’ll not have any choice). The game looks great in general and even in handheld mode it’s still easy to see everything on screen despite the busy scenery.
Thankfully for the player, Two Tribes have taken the time between the Wii U and Switch release to think about the handheld possibilities and, it seems, also listen to feedback about how frustrating some of the levels were to replay if you make a mistake. This ‘plus’ version’s main addition to the gameplay is a special whistle that you can learn to open save points, so that any mistakes won’t set you back half an hour. This, in turn, promotes more experimentation, not to mention really helping when your bus stop looms in the window and you need to put the Switch away during a particularly tricky level!
Despite the difficulty curve that hits early on, Toki Tori 2+ never seems like an insurmountable hill to climb, there’s always a solution and it’s just a case of working it out logically. The new save points balance the game out well and help you to keep your sanity while enjoying the scenery.