It was back in 2001 that this little yellow bird made his debut on the Gameboy Color handheld system and subsequent remakes and sequels that found home on the iPhone, Wii, Wii U and now the PS4 with Toki Tori 2+. This title brings with it an air of simplicity that while repetitive in nature, tends to lend itself greatly to what is so charming about this puzzle platformer.
As Toki Tori, the small little yellow bird, you can whistle, stomp and climb as you make your way through the 15-20 hour adventure. There is very little of a story here, at least one that is told to you directly. You’ll fill in the blanks eventually as the game tends to show you what is going on, a bit like the Matrix, I suppose. You’ll see why there are not many birds around and what the black goo on the island is up to as it infects this colorful and peaceful land.
Levels are designed thoughtfully and methodically as you’ll move left and right, find a ladder to climb, whistle for enemies to come close and stomp to cause a variety of things to happen. Frogs, at the right moment will have them swallow a berry, to which you can make him belch a bubble to float through the air in. Eventually you are timing everything you need to do in bizarre ways that get extremely complicated, mostly in a good way, to solve the puzzles and move on.
There is one level near the start that debuts a mechanic that starts to come by the truck load during your little adventure, and that are the fireflies. These little friends stop creatures in the darkness from taking you down, but beware for areas that have water as their light will go out and that makes you vulnerable. Thankfully the checkpoints are often, so dying doesn’t set you back a great deal of time.
You have a few whistling techniques that are taught to you by fellow birds. These tunes play out like Morse code, with long presses and short presses to distinguish the tones. There are 5 melodies to learn that will help you in a variety of ways. Reloading to the prior checkpoint is a tune that you will use quite often if you get stuck, which I did, a lot. I had to look up the solution to many of the games puzzles as they just get downright hard, despite the simplistic controls. A few of them I literally had to pause and laugh to myself as it comes off as so simple and a few others I wouldn’t have been able to piece it together. You can whistle a melody to find collectibles in the level, bring up the map and fast travel to another location.
The final whistle brings up a camera that allows you to take pictures to fill up a gallery. I didn’t quite grasp the purpose of this mechanic other than to fill time within the game. I used it once or twice and then mostly forgot about it.
Toki Tori 2+ is a really pretty game as its vibrant and colorful visuals are extremely clean and neat. I really enjoyed the music as well as most of the tunes are cheerful and follow a very catchy beat.
I had a fairly good time with the game and found some of its puzzles well-constructed and some of them just insanely difficult. If you like puzzle games that don’t revolve around a colored block or gem, then Toki Tori 2+ is a welcome change of pace that is well worth the purchase, just be cautious of the challenge.