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First Impressions: Toki Tori 2

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

The bird's still got it

Toki Tori 2 was one of the first eShop titles confirmed for Wii U, showing that developer Two Tribes is more than happy to take another early plunge on Nintendo's download platform. It seems only right, too, as the developer's first ever release was Toki Tori on Game Boy Color, before a new version of that game had a start on WiiWare. Whenever the cute little chicken starts a new adventure, he seems to flap his way onto a Nintendo system.

Although a formal launch date isn't yet confirmed a launch window release seems likely, especially as a demo of Toki Tori 2 was available at Nintendo of Europe's preview event last week. While an initial glance at the screen made us think that it looked like more of the same, once we picked up a GamePad we realised that Two Tribes had made notable changes, taking the familiar and placing it in an entirely new environment.

Unlike its predecessor on WiiWare — and a number of other platforms — the individual levels and puzzles are tackled in a new way in Toki Tori 2. Rather than navigate a stand-alone area using a set number of items, this time around the diminutive chicken is in a larger open world, with the only items taking the form of other creatures in the environment. You have the option to stomp, which prompts animals to run away or follow a certain action, or you can whistle to attract creatures towards you. Dealing with moving animals, each with their own set of behaviours, gives the levels a new dynamism, often forcing you to act quickly and decisively.

In the demo level we played, we were in a lush environment with some attractive Mediterranean-style buildings in the background. In the space of around 10 minutes we'd covered a lot of ground in one flowing level, with transitions between large areas; you're often picked up and carried by a bird, a sequence shown off in the game trailers.

The puzzles, meanwhile, were varied and rather challenging. The task is given a new dimension by the fact that the creatures aren't merely objects to be used, but have to be prompted and encouraged in particular ways. One example is the frogs that blow bubbles to transport you upwards, but they must have a berry to eat to produce the bubble. Another example was an area where the bird couldn't see us due to tall grass, so we had to encourage a giant lobster to follow us and crush the grass with a block of wood on its back — these creatures are also movable platforms in other areas. Based on what we played Two Tribes hasn't been afraid to provide challenging brain teasers, requiring you to not only figure out what to do but also, on occasions, follow very precise timing to get the most out of the various creatures.

Also on show, which was pleasing to see, was the level creator that'll be included with the title. In the sample that we tried the level actually resembled the design seen in the Game Boy Color or WiiWare title, with the action restricted to one specific area rather than the over-world of the main game. That makes perfect sense in terms of making it accessible, and the level editor is intuitive and full of promise; it's simply a case of using the GamePad touch screen to select and place items and specific environments, with the final result on show on the TV screen. A lot of the creatures and items from the game were available to pick, and given time and concentration it seemed like a natural, simple way to create a basic level.

If the level creator has sharing options via Nintendo Network, then it could undoubtedly be a hit amongst wannabe puzzle-game designers out there. The actual controls may be simple, but producing a workable and enjoyable stage will take patience and skill; as we've seen in games on other platforms that allow level creation, there'd undoubtedly be a lot of enjoyable entries from gamers if the ability to share is provided.

Overall, Toki Tori 2 looks like a promising early entry onto the Wii U eShop, though no date is confirmed. It's not merely an extension of what has come before, but what we've seen is a genuine evolution towards new ideas, with the larger areas and creatures-as-items set to bring some tough, challenging puzzles.

If you'd like to read more about this title, check out our interview with Two Tribes from August.

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User Comments (13)

MAB

#2

MAB said:

Sounds like a great download for a slow sunday morning bit of fun ;)

Sjoerd

#4

Sjoerd said:

Instabuy!! i've been following this game for quite some time now and it seriously is one of my reasons to get myself a WiiU.

rjejr

#5

rjejr said:

We didn't really like Toki Tori, too much like the myriad of free Flash games found on the internet. This one sounds a whole lot more enjoyable though. Like a cross between Oddworld: Abe's Odyssey level design problems and Zack and Wiki's color scheme and problem solving. And my kids will spend hours on anything with a level creator - Age of Booty, Crayon Physics, SSBB. I can see them fighting over the Gamepad now.

Collo

#6

Collo said:

As usual, we'll be here to answer any questions you may have about Toki Tori 2!

Let it rip :)

SandMan

#8

SandMan said:

@Collo From the screenshots and trailer I've seen so far, it appears as though some objects have different graphical styles than others (such as the art differences between the bird that picks up Toki Tori and Toki Tori himself among other things) which aren't too visually pleasing. Would you agree that there is inconsistencies in the art style used for this game, or am I imagining things?

On a completely different note, I absolutely loved Toki Tori on WiiWare, especially the soundtrack. Will the same composer be doing the music for this game as well?

erv

#9

erv said:

I thought they tweeted they'd be there at launch? I'm buying it for sure!

Bass_X0

#10

Bass_X0 said:

We didn't really like Toki Tori, too much like the myriad of free Flash games found on the internet.

Toki Tori existed long before all those flash games did. Its a 12 year old game now.

SandMan

#12

SandMan said:

@Collo I can't think of many other games around that have dynamic music — sounds like it will be great!

As for the art style, I'm not entirely sure what it is that makes it look inconsistent to me. It looks like the bird (and some of the enemies and objects) are more cartoony looking than Toki Tori, but this might just be because I'm so familiar with the art style of the first game and maybe I just need to adjust to the sequel.

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