Review: Toki Tori (3DS eShop / GBC)

A good egg

Many will be familiar with Toki Tori on WiiWare, released a few years ago and since on several systems; it's been quite the popular game, but not many people are familiar with the original entry in the series. This is understandable, because it was released at the tail end of the Game Boy Color's life cycle back in 2002, but now has a second lease of life on the 3DS Virtual Console.

If you've played the remake you probably know what to expect here, but for those new to Toki Tori, here's a brief explanation. You play as the titular bird attempting to rescue your siblings, who are still trapped in their eggs, and have been scattered through four different areas. Toki Tori isn't very athletic or strong, so to get around each level you'll have to rely on a limited supply of special abilities, each of which has its own unique use.

The very first one lets you build a simple, small bridge to cross gaps, but you'll quickly find yourself using teleports, freeze rays and others, some of which are exclusive to a particular world; these include the incredibly handy bubble suit, which allows you to float upwards a limited amount of spaces, a very important ability for many of the underwater levels.

A lot of the levels feature enemies, but as Toki Tori is mostly defenceless you'll have to find a way around these with your abilities, or use them to your advantage by freezing them with the freeze ray (when available) and using them as stepping stones. Simply dodging them can be a bit tricky, as Toki Tori is quite slow — especially when falling — and has to manually jump up steps, rather than just running towards them to auto-jump as he has recently.

Most levels give you just enough abilities to get all of the eggs in one very specific way, so you'll have to get those gears in your head grinding if you want to figure out the solution. As you progress the stages become particularly challenging, with no way of skipping ahead, so if you find yourself stuck on a level you're not moving on until you beat it!

The levels themselves may be very familiar to you if you've played the WiiWare title, as they are certainly similar. Each of the four worlds have ten stages, plus a few "learn stages" where you get to experiment with a new ability when one is introduced. After clearing the ten normal stages, you'll unlock a set of hard stages for that world, which tend to live up to their name as they're significantly trickier to solve.

For a Game Boy Color title, meanwhile, the visuals are nice and detailed, with lots of little touches in each level. The music has good variety and does the trick, with the Creepy Castle theme in particular being catchy and memorable.

Conclusion

Toki Tori is a game many players missed the first time around, but you've now got a second chance to experience the original game on 3DS Virtual Console. With 40 increasingly challenging main stages and several optional hard stages, you're likely be entertained for a good amount of time before finally clearing it.