Developed by Two Tribes and published by Capcom in some markets, Toki Tori first came out in 2001 as a platformer and puzzle game for the Nintendo Game Boy Color. It is now available for Android, iOS, and many other systems.
As the title character, Toki Tori, players take on the role of a small chicken as he makes his way across the world to save his siblings. The goal is to get an egg using a set of tools which change as the levels progress. These tools form the crux of the puzzle-solving element of Toki Tori, naturally.
You start out in a forest and have to make your way to a castle at the end, so it’s kind of Mario-esque in that way. Tools have the dual benefit of being capable of solving puzzles and eliminating enemies. Players have to be careful in how often they use these tools because they’re also key to solving puzzles.
There’s a time limit to gathering the eggs as well so it isn’t like you can sit around all day and try to figure out what to do next. Each of the four worlds contains 15 levels each and, due to the time limit, players really have to master in-game mechanics in order to proceed.
Completing levels under the time limit, if you know what you’re doing, is not impossible but players who don’t really know what’s what will have a hard time advancing at a certain point.
That’s part of the charm and frustration of Toki Tori. It goes from whimsical to tough as nails in the snap of a finger. Just make sure you’re paying attention in the beginning. The four different environments you encounter are Forest Falls, Creepy Castle, Slime Sewers, and Bubble Barrage.
Each world has its own theme (again, similar to Mario) and they come along with their own unique challenges.
The major difference between each outside of a unique look for them is that they all have a specific tool associated with them. This isn’t like Mario’s power-ups or suits because the tools have critical functions in terms of gameplay. Part of the challenge and fun of Toki Tori is figuring out how each works and what to do with it in the level. But, at the same time, you’re limited by the timer.
It’s an interesting balance of experimentation and anxiety-inducing tactics that make it more challenging than it would probably otherwise be.
But don’t be fooled - just because everything is cute doesn’t mean it isn’t a pain on the you know where. Sound wise and musically the title is a bit bland if not generic but, again, that’s not what you’re here for at the end of the day.
From a technical standpoint, Toki Tori is well made and totally on point in all the areas that matter. A great game for all ages (and one that has aged remarkably well), Toki Tori is recommended for anyone who enjoys platformers, puzzlers, or both.