You are a plump yellow chicken. Aww. Navigate a huge colourful world while you stomp frogs and learn how to whistle. It’s all in a day’s flap for this little fellow. Toki Tori 2+ is a cute puzzle platformer with very simple mechanics but very clever puzzles. Your baby chick can move left and right, stomp, whistle and climb ladders. That’s it. To move through Toki Tori’s world you must use these actions to effect the environment around you. There are a lot of helpful creatures out there and they’ll ignorantly do your bidding if you can figure out what makes them tick. Little purple bugs will fall down from rocks if you stomp within their range. If they then cross paths with a frog, the frog will eat it. Whistle to make the frog turn in your direction and then perform another stomp to make the frog burp a bubble that will carry you up to heights you otherwise wouldn’t be able to reach. Whistling will attract all manner of creatures and stomping will alarm many others. You are left largely to figure out for yourself how to use only these two skills to solve all the puzzles in the game, and it’s really not as easy as it sounds.
Once you’ve got to grips with how Toki Tori’s world works, much of your puzzling becomes intuitive. You’ll often have a good idea of what needs to be done but, if you do get stuck, wandering around the screen stomping the ground and whistling at things will often uncover your solution. Sometimes, though, you’ll just have to think about it really really hard. Toki Tori 2+ was previously released as a Wii U game, and if you’re at all familiar with Nintendo games, you’ll instantly recognise the Yoshi-ish, Captain Toady style ambience. Oh the cute cute cute. I almost expected little karts to roll across the screen. The developers captured what really works on that system, and it’s lovely to have it on the PS4. Despite the brightly coloured rainbow graphics and kiddyish feel, Toki Tori 2+ hides some hardcore puzzling that will have you tearing a few feathers out.
At no point does the game help you out of a sticky situation. If scurrying about the screen whistling your little chicken liver out doesn’t yield any results to a puzzle’s solution you’re in the oven and totally stuffed. You’re actually going to have to use your brain. It’s great that you’re not treated like an idiot, but there are a few times that I would have preferred the game to assume at least a little idiocy. Toki Tori is somewhat open. Gateways will lead you to different parts of the map and to some extent you can come and go as you wish. You will even discover a limited fast travel option. The problem is that nothing is marked on the map. The levels don’t have names or numbers, and many environments will look similar in particular areas. Even though I was reasonably sure I was constantly moving the game forwards, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was totally and utterly lost. If I’d wanted to Google a solution, I wouldn’t have a clue where to start. Where the hell am I? While I appreciate that it didn’t really seem to matter, the suspicion of being lost does give a slightly unpleasant knot in the stomach.
Not really explaining what on earth is going on seems to be this game’s hook. You’re a baby chicken and therefore you’re not supposed to know. Fair enough. If you like exploration and a little mystery, you’re wandering around blind in the correct forest. A good story is always nice, but when you’ve got such great gameplay, you don’t actually need it. Toki Tori 2+ doesn’t need it, because while you will be asking why you’re collecting all this stuff, how do I get rid of the black goo and what’s that obelisk for, the answers to those questions are inconsequential in the moment. Who cares? It’s all about great mind-bending puzzles, and that’s something Toki Tori 2+ has on every single new screen.
The world of Toki Tori is extensive and there’s plenty to keep you going for a good long while. As you progress, the game will throw all sorts of new creatures and conundrums at you. It never gets old or repetitive and the feeling of cracking a particularly hard puzzle by sending a purple chirping thing sailing through a teleport is along similar lines to winning Olympic Gold. Prepare to do a lap of your living room.
If you don’t fall down dead from all the cuteness, you absolutely will enjoy this colourful and original game. Toki Tori 2+ doesn’t need a deep story or buckets of background. Top class puzzling firmly supports a bright and beautiful platformer. Don’t worry about getting lost. Just enjoy the frogs.
S J Hollis Rating – 8/10