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Developer Interview: Two Tribes Clarifies Toki Tori 2+ Details and Confirms Classics Coming to Wii U

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

A great idea fully hatched?

Toki Tori 2 was always high on a number of Wii U eShop wishlists when it was announced prior to the Wii U's launch. Toki Tori was an early standout on WiiWare, yet developer Two Tribes didn't simply repeat the formula with the sequel, instead opting for a bold approach where puzzles were simply part of a larger world, and abilities were limited to whistles and stomping. Add to that beautiful visuals, and we considered it to be a strong title that, in our view, over-pushed the hands-off approach, though some will disagree.

Not a polarising title, as such, but one that challenged ideas of how a puzzle game can be structured, dividing opinion on its merits or otherwise. Despite our concerns with some aspects of the design, we still recommended Toki Tori 2 in our review, and it's earned some loyal fans. Two Tribes is a studio always keen to improve its games, however, and this week releases Toki Tori 2+, which brings the Wii U version more in line with that on PC; it'll be a free update for those that own the game, while purchases from 12th September will be of the + edition — there'll also be a 40% price reduction from 12th-19th September.

Keen to learn more, we've spoken to Two Tribes' Collin van Ginkel about the update, and also got some confirmation of more games coming to the Wii U eShop.


Nintendo Life: Firstly can you summarise the key improvements that you've made with Toki Tori 2+?

Collin van Ginkel: We've reduced the need for backtracking past puzzles you've already solved and we've made the worldmap easier to read and navigate. Those were the two main things that came up when we looked at the game's reviews and our Miiverse community, but we also went through every single level and tweaked and added puzzles where we thought it would improve the experience.

Aside from the gameplay improvements we've also upgraded the graphics with finer details, new backgrounds and more special colour effects. Oh I almost forgot... the disco now features dubstep and happy hardcore songs!

NL: Some may have mixed views on you making these adjustments, as some loved the hands-off style while others thought that goals were perhaps too vague; is that a concern?

CvG: They should not worry about that since we haven't changed the core experience. The changes we have made are to make it easier for players to achieve their goals, not by constantly telling them what to do but by better facilitating their plans. For instance, we now drop little feathers on the path you took through the world so it's easier to know where you've already been. This doesn't tell you where to go, but it does give you a better idea of what your options are.

NL: You mention Miiverse as a great source of feedback, so are these changes catered to the majority of that feedback?

CvG: It certainly is. We did a lot of testing during development, but nothing beats having thousands of players actually experience your game in the comfort of their own homes. The major issues that we discovered from the Miiverse feedback are now hopefully all smoothed out!

The changes we have made are to make it easier for players to achieve their goals, not by constantly telling them what to do but by better facilitating their plans.

NL: Will the update seamlessly transition into gamers' existing save data if their game is in progress?

CvG: For existing players, the game will drop Toki Tori back to the entry point of the area they were at. We had to do this, since so many of the levels had changed, there was no way of knowing if you'd end up in solid ground, for instance.

Fortunately it should only set players back a few minutes, tops.

NL: Can you tell us more about the in-level warp option to reduce backtracking, and why that was considered an important change?

CvG: When planning the game's layout we made sure there was no need for much backtracking. Everything you were supposed to do next would offer new puzzles and environments. However, this totally disregarded the open nature of the game, meaning many players were exploring previously played levels, and solving the same puzzles again, to find hidden paths that weren't necessarily there.

We've added mole hills that open up and provide a way to the other side after you've proven you can solve the puzzles in that area. This means even if players take a wrong path, they'll either end up solving new puzzles or they'll know very quickly that it's a dead end.

NL: What kind of tweaks and adjustments have you made to puzzles? Can you provide an example?

CvG: In Toki Tori 2 we work with what we call knowledge unlocks. Each puzzle should give players more knowledge about how the game works and they can use that knowledge to get further into the game. In some cases we noticed we did not unlock the knowledge clearly enough, for instance because people solved a puzzle by accident. We have added little puzzles that make it more likely that the player will have gained the appropriate knowledge.

Aside from that, we've added some alternative passages and expanded some areas with completely new puzzles too.

NL: Your update highlights additional story elements and landmarks, how important do you feel these are to the updated experience?

CvG: By adding things like the windmill park or the dragon skeletons, it's much easier for players to remember exactly where that difficult to reach collectible was. It's another thing that helps players navigate the world more easily, especially since most of the additions also show up on the world map.

Before and After - Graphical Changes

NL: Is this game's + version essentially the same as that on Steam, or have there been additional Wii U-specific tweaks?

CvG: It is important for us to keep offering the same experience to all our players, regardless of which platform they play Toki Tori 2+ on. The gameplay and content is 100% identical, but of course the Wii U-specific camera controls and usage of the GamePad are still unique to the Wii U version.

NL: How notable a role do you expect the + branding and price promotion to play in triggering additional sales?

CvG: We added the + to the name to make sure people did not disregard it as a minor update. It's definitely the biggest update we have ever done to any of our games. Having said that, we know from experience that people love discounts, so that's going to be the biggest factor in bringing in more players.

NL: There's obviously been no mention of the level editor yet, which was previously confirmed. Are you able to shed any light on that?

CvG: It's not part of the Toki Tori 2+ update. There are some editor-related things happening behind the scenes that we cannot talk about yet, which you will understand when we reveal it!

NL: Has the commercial performance of the game on Wii U met your expectations? Can you give an indication of how sales on the Wii U and Steam compare?

We're not happy yet, but we know Nintendo is working hard to improve the Wii U hardware sales and the eShop offers us many tools to improve performance, such as this weeks 40% off discount. With digital goods, it's all about creating sales spikes instead of only making money during launch.

Steam has done better, but that was to be expected giving the platform's maturity and installed user base.

Toki Tori 1, EDGE and RUSH are coming to Wii U soon. They are based on the PC versions and will allow for off-TV play and have touch controls where it makes sense.

NL: Is Toki Tori 2+ now in-line with the vision you always had for the game, or do you feel that a lot of these adjustments are a reaction to consumer demand and, potentially, a small step back from the original concept?

CvG: We had some core values when designing Toki Tori 2, which haven't changed during development of the initial release or this latest update. So in that sense the original release was in-line with the vision already, and we have just made sure it's more easily enjoyed now by our target audience.

NL: While we have you, can you tell us anything about the Two Tribes Classics range that you've teased for Wii U?

CvG: Yes! Toki Tori 1, EDGE and RUSH are coming to Wii U soon. They are based on the PC versions and will allow for off-TV play and have touch controls where it makes sense. We'll be offering them at a very attractive price point.

NL: Do you currently have any projects in the works for the 3DS, meanwhile?

CvG: We'll release one game before the end of the year, it will be a port and it's not Toki Tori 2+. More on this soon.


We'd like to thank Collin van Ginkel for his time. Toki Tori 2+ arrives in Europe and North America on Thursday 12th September; we'll bring you hands-on impressions of the release on launch day.

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User Comments (33)

sinalefa

#2

sinalefa said:

I started playing this a week ago or so, and I have only solved a few levels. Wonder if I should start from scratch to take advantage of these changes.

Also, thanks to Two Tribes for making this a free update to existing owners.

rjejr

#4

rjejr said:

Thanks for asking about the level editor TW. Even without it, if the new + game is on sale this Thursday I'll pick it up.

XyVoX

#6

XyVoX said:

Gotta take your hats of to devs and support them if you can when you can see they want to really make their games as best as possible. Problem for me i dont own a Wii U (will get one soonish when price starts dropping more) this game plus many others i would of bought mostly when on discount ready for my future purchase of a Wii U but theres know way of me doing that, shame really.

erv

#7

erv said:

The game was already great, I think I'll start over just because it's so much fun :)

Although a warrior of dearth has lots of responsibilities these days...

LDXD

#8

LDXD said:

Seems like I'm going to have to give this a try and 40% off seems like a good deal I'll probably get it this weekend just don't know when I'll have time to play it

brandonbwii

#9

brandonbwii said:

I loved Toki Tori on WiiWare, but I just can't get into Toki Tori 2. My Miiverse posts asking "what do I do now?" have become far too frequent.

hiptanaka

#10

hiptanaka said:

I like this game a lot. The level design is so good. Pretty underappreciated game, as far as I can tell.

cyrus_zuo

#12

cyrus_zuo said:

Bought the game day 1, loved the style. Unfortunately after awhile I ran into a couple of puzzles that weren't hard to solve, but whose execution of the solution was really hard. I spent 30 minutes on each, getting more upset each time a stomp sent a bug the wrong way b/c it wasn't perfectly timed. Getting passed the second of the puzzles didn't happen. Tori has been standing there ever since.
I'll give it another go w/the update. I loved the style!

Kyoto

#13

Kyoto said:

EDGE and RUSH look like really good fun! Had a fun time with Toki Tori 2 too, but after I beat it (without collecting all golden thingies) I never touched it again. Will probably start from scratch to see all new things they added :)

Collo

#14

Collo said:

cyrus_zuo: that is never the intended solution. Can you remember where this was?

ThomasBW84Admin

#15

ThomasBW84 said:

@Morph Our review will stay the same, as we review the original product (or original plus day one patch, as can happen). What I will do is a Hands On article, with no score, outlining the changes, what's good, bad or whatever. Hopefully that'll be helpful for some on the fence. That'll be published on Thursday :)

NbaJunkie

#19

NbaJunkie said:

I bought this game months ago.The visuals are superb.The game play is charming.But the lack of tutorials and real lack of direction has turned me off completely.I played it for a few days before just giving up.Cant wait to try the improved game

Extremist

#22

Extremist said:

Bought this on launch after loving the first game. I LOVE the core gameplay, but I hardly ever play it as I feel I just wander aimlessly around the worldmap. Really hate the open world - I feel no sense of what I've completed, what to replay, where to go etc. For me this was a BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAD decision - next Two Tribes game is NOT insta-buy, that's for sure!

element187

#25

element187 said:

I got a few hours into the game, but I got lost and couldn't figure out my way... Maybe i'll delete my save game and give it another crack... I actually like the game, its a very cool Sunday afternoon laying on the couch type of game.

cyrus_zuo

#26

cyrus_zuo said:

@Collo: I can try and look when I went home today. In both cases I found people with the same problem on MiiVerse and was putting in place the solutions they had. Each required a number of steps and I was going crazy that I'd get half-way through a solution and then pound at the wrong time and have to reset and start over again.
Will try to post exactly where to MiiVerse today, that should be the easiest way to show where I'm at ;).

WaveBoy

#27

WaveBoy said:

Little Inferno, Duck Tales Remastered, Toki Tori 2+ and the upcoming Shovel Knight are the only WiiUWare titles that i'm interested in. Correct me if I'm wrong but Mighty No.9 will be a retail release no?

JustinH

#28

JustinH said:

@WaveBoy I don't think there's any chance that Mighty No. 9 hits shelves, as people can get it on KickStarter for $20.

With that said there are tons of eShop titles on the horizon... no interest in stuff like Hat in Time, Scram Kitty, Armikrog or any of those?

WaveBoy

#29

WaveBoy said:

@JustinH

I completely forgot about Armikrog. I thought it didn't meet it's Kickstarter goal, glad to see that it did! Will be checking that one out and 'A Hat in time looks wonderful. :) It's like a visual blend of Wind Waker & Super Mario Galaxy. As for Scram Kitty....I think i'll just scram.lol ;)

Marioman64

#30

Marioman64 said:

"reduced the need for backtracking past puzzles"
THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!
omg, now I'll be able to keep playing this game. I was completely lost, found 1 out of four things I didn't know I was looking for, and was backtracking taking hours re-doing puzzles that needed perfect timing. I actually think i'll start over so i can get a renewed experience

cyrus_zuo

#31

cyrus_zuo said:

@Collo: Here is the spot. Did this one w/pain and repetition, after failing to execute the solution on the next puzzle I quit. https://miiverse.nintendo.net/posts/AYMHAAABAAAYUKk_HVuk-w

Collo

#32

Collo said:

Thanks for getting back to me!

The solution here is to group the frogs by whistling them onto the same location, giving you enough time to stomp that one berrybug onto the ceiling. No timing required whatsoever.

cyrus_zuo

#33

cyrus_zuo said:

This was the easier of the two.
The issues come with grouping the frogs (just takes time) and then followed by running over to stomp the bug to the ceiling. If you instead stomp to the right or left of the bug a little, the situation becomes much worse with frogs running after the bug (if you knock it to the right) or you running after it (if it is to the left) followed by the now unleashed frogs.
I find the precision too involved for this puzzle and the one right after it. A slightly off stomp leads to having to repeat over and over again. Not b/c you don't know what to do, but b/c executing it can be a real troubling experience.
Just my $.02. Wish you guys all the best :).

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