Thanks to Two Tribes for the review code
Title: Toki Tori
System: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Release Date: 03/30/2018
In this puzzle-solving game, you take control of the titular bird, who must set out on a quest to find all his missing eggs in four different worlds. Being a remake of a GBC game, (and one of many ports of said remake) it’s actually kinda surprising to still see the intro cutscene, along with cutscenes between levels completely removed in favor of transitional scenes where you travel from one world to another after clearing the final stage. It’s kinda a bummer considering how the GBC original’s cutscenes were really entertaining ways of transitioning between stages while also having an actual plot that continued during the adventure.
Being a remake of a GBC title known for high-quality animation, it’s a bit disappointing that Toki Tori lost a bit of the charm that made it special in the transition to 3D. With this version being previously ported to Wii U, Steam, PS3, Wiiware and 3DS, it wasn’t expected that they would change or add more polish to the game from a visual standpoint, but it is worth taking note that the GBC game was a lot prettier to look at with smoother animations and a very expressive main character. That being said, Toki Tori still has a few amusing expressions to be seen here, my favorite of which being the funny depressed face he puts on whenever he’s trapped and unable to move. (an indication that you should rewind or restart the level) The enemies look OK as well, and the music is decent compared to the GBC original. (though the Crazy Castle world still has an excellent BGM accompanying it) Still, part of me hopes that one day Two Tribes might end up adding in an option to switch to the GBC score, or hide the original version as an unlockable in this game, since the presentation of the original game is still stunning for a game made in 2001.
The goal of each stage in Toki Tori is to collect each and every single egg scattered around the stage, avoiding enemies and trying to get everything without getting stuck. The titular bird is terrible at dealing with any situation on his own, since he’s unable to jump higher than a small ledge and can’t even so much as nudge a fellow creature without falling off the screen to his death.
Luckily, that’s where all the handy items come into play, as you’re introduced to the two common ones in the very first world, with a bridge that you can lay out to cross over gaps, and a teleporter that transports you a fixed distance in four different directions. Some levels have give you the ability to use some or all of these powerups infinitely, while most levels will have very limited uses, requiring you to think of a solution that can often be pretty darn hard to figure out without a guide, but certainly doable if you put the time and effort into it and have an ah-ha moment.
As you progress through each of the worlds, more powerups and hazards will open up to you, with abilities such as being able to move columns of stone blocks behind you, creating a big block to hop on, shooting enemies with an Ice Gun, and enclosing yourself in a bubble to navigate underwater. A lot of these are dependent on the world that you’re in, with five worlds in total, so don’t expect to see the Bubble Powerup outside of the Aquatic World for instance. That being said, this game will test your skills, and you will get stuck sooner or later. That’s where the handy Rewind function comes into play, introduced in the remake (it was lacking from the GBC original, making that game a lot more frustrating to play despite the great presentation) way back when it launched on Steam many years ago. Upon hitting the Y button, you’ll be able to go back as far as you like into a stage until you choose to stop at a point where you feel that you can complete the level properly, but even with this feature, some of the levels from the third world onwards (Or any of the unlockable hard/bonus stages from each world) will become really damn tricky for the typical player, requiring a ton of thought to the point you may as well end up using a guide to clear the last few sets of Normal Stages. You can skip a single stage via a wildcard if you get stuck, which helps in the earlier worlds, (clearing the skipped stage returns the wildcard to you) but in later stages when multiple tough stages in a row are thrown up to you, it doesn’t help nearly as much, which can again make the game feel like a guide game after a certain point. Still, the Bonus and Hard levels are totally optional, making those a lot easier to play for the fun of it since you don’t have to beat all of them to unlock the next world.
New to the Switch port of this game is, well, nothing much to speak of. In fact, it’s more akin to the Wii U eShop port released in 2013, instead of the Steam Version that’s the most “complete” of the currently released ports. All three versions contain the four main worlds, the hard stages and the bonus levels, along with the bonus “Test Lab” world that takes inspiration from the Portal Series. The Switch Version does add some very light HD rumble to some parts of the game (mostly menu navigation), but that’s pretty much it as far as Switch exclusive features go. You can’t even navigate the menu with the touch screen in handheld mode for some odd reason, and it’s a shame too, as handheld mode would have been the perfect way to bring over the Level Editor from the Steam release, which was missing from the Wii U version, and missing yet again in this version of the game, so you’re stuck with the five worlds here. The most surprising omission of them all, however comes from the lack of in-game achievements, something both RIVE and Toki Tori 2+ offered as a really nifty bonus. It’s kinda confusing as to why they aren’t in-game for Toki Tori as well, since the steam release of that game did offer up a few hidden achievements related to some obscure secrets that were fun to hunt down in that release of the game, so you will lose a tiny bit of replay value in the Switch port as a result.
In conclusion, Toki Tori is still an incredibly fun puzzle game, requiring a lot of smarts to pass each of the five worlds, even with the extra QOL additions the remake has such as the rewind ability. For $5, this is a fairly priced game to enjoy with a lot of content, despite the lack of a level editor and the achievements. That being said, Toki Tori is also $5 on Steam as well, and that version gives you a level editor and achievements, so if you own a Steam compatible device, then you might want to pick this game up on that service instead to make the most out of your dollar, but no matter what version you get, you’ll still have tons of challenging puzzles to complete if you want to 100% the main adventure.
It’s a bit of a shame that this version isn’t really that different from most of the other ports, since the other Switch ports Two Tribes have offered up so far went above and beyond adding extra features to make the Switch versions feel like the best of the console versions, but in the case of this game, it’s business as usual. But who knows, maybe we’ll be lucky and get a port of the MSX game that started it all, Eggbert if things continue to work out for Two Tribes and their Switch ports, and being one of the lower priced options on the Switch eShop certainly will help this stand out with all the other titles launching lately. I give Toki Tori a 7 out of 10.