Toki Tori has been ported, tweaked and re-released a lot, with its blend of accessible but increasingly challenging puzzling appealing to gamers of various types on almost any platform you can name. Suitable for touch inputs or physical controls, it's playable on just about any system you want, though sadly we couldn't find a version for the Commodore 64.
Yet that shouldn't necessarily put people off Toki Tori 3D, especially as it's available for less than the price of a fancy coffee. What's important to note is that this isn't a 3D re-release of the Game Boy Color title already available on the portable's Virtual Console, but rather the fancier PC version - with entirely new content and level design - that then made its way to the Wii U eShop. It's a port of a remaster, if that makes sense. Even those with the WiiWare version will find new content in these eShop iterations.
If you've managed to avoid all of these versions, ports and re-releases, then let's summarise the basic gameplay. You play as the cute Two Tribes mascot which has very limited abilities - it can walk and flutter down long drops; that's about it. The chick also has limited-use items, however, starting with basics like bridges and evolving to more complicated contraptions / abilities like a hoover or bubble for moving around underwater. Each is carefully designed with strict limitations, as this is a puzzle game that demands you stop and think about a solution.
It's rather pure, un-distilled retro-style puzzling, then, as you're placed into dozens of fixed stages with limited items to complete your goal of claiming all of the eggs. Sometimes there are a few ways to reach a goal and you may finish with items to spare, while on other occasions it can take a while to figure out the one complex solution to move on. You're given a single wildcard to skip a stage which can only be reclaimed by beating the level later, and short of looking up walkthroughs the core campaign should take newcomers quite a while.
Solving the puzzles is pleasurable, though, as each version of this game has continued to streamline and improve the experience. You can hold X at any time and look around the stage, while there's an option to rewind as far as you like if you make a mistake or spot the solution after you've already passed the point of no return. This immediate rewind is particularly useful, and in this 3DS version you can access this and item swapping on the touch screen; the latter is also mapped to the shoulder buttons.
Overall the puzzles are often very clever, with a few that are reliant a little more on trial-and-error. There's little to complain about due to the tight, focused design, and this is a game ideal either for quick bursts of play or longer sessions. There's lots to do, too, with the 'Normal' campaign split into multiple worlds and a whole load of 'Hard' and Bonus levels also thrown in. For those of you sharing a 3DS there are also multiple save profiles. There's a lot of bang for your buck, and it's high quality if somewhat old-fashioned puzzle gameplay.
As for the 3DS port itself, Engine Software has done a fine job with the Two Tribes game - it has the same look as the Wii U eShop release, being sharp and colourful on the 3DS screen. Performance is solid and smooth with a pleasing 3D effect, and the only feature missing from the Wii U equivalent - which utilised the GamePad - is the option to play using touch controls on the bottom screen. Aside from that it's fully featured and is a well-produced release.
We were tempted to simply write 'this is Toki Tori, but with 3D' as a one-line review, as that's basically what we have here. That wouldn't have done justice to the quality of the port though, nor the fact that it recreates the version seen on platforms like PC and Wii U with a stylish 3D effect and on-the-go gaming. It's a lovely version of an enjoyable puzzle game, and courtesy of its budget price should be considered by Toki Tori veterans and newcomers alike.