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Toki Tori 2 Review - A visual splendor that was worth the wait

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After a little bit of a lull on the Nintendo eShop, we’ve been graced by a game that’s been delayed so many times you’d think it would star Duke Nukem. Okay, maybe not that bad but I’m happy to say Toki Tori 2, the long awaited sequel to the 2001 Gameboy Color classic (that was subsequently ported to everything you could plug a controller into). Was it worth the wait? Consider the following.

Toki Tori fancies itself a Metroidvania style game, but I take umbrage with that title for one reason: the absence of weapons. If I don’t have an arsenal, it’s not a Metroidvania. Even Shantae had deadly dances. But the game is one open ended level that allows for exploration and experimentation. Toki Tori is armed with the ability to stomp and sing, that allow him to command, scare, and use animal friends to solve puzzles and get golden musical notes. 

The first thing I noticed was just how beautiful Toki Tori 2 looks. Sure, I’ve been devouring every single preview and gameplay video with my eyes for the past months, but I was floored once I tried the game for the first time. I can’t help but think they delayed the game to polish the graphics (and polish they did!) and use the Wii U hardware to it’s fullest. As far as looks go, this adorable chick could give first party Big N graphics a run for their money. 

Floored as I was with the graphics, the game doesn’t really spell out anything for you. There wasn’t anything in the way of explanations of what to do, how to do it, or why you’re doing it. Heck, I died even before the title screen. Toki Tori is armed with the ability to stomp and sing, that allow him to command, scare, and use animal friends to solve puzzles and get golden musical notes. 

For a game that looks as if it’s made for children (like, say, Pokemon), it can get pretty tedious. It has a few difficult parts, but most of them are just tedious. You know exactly how to do get from here to there, but pulling it off may be (and in my case was) harder than you’d think. And as you progress puzzles become longer and more complicated. One wrong move and you have to start the puzzle all over. 

My biggest problem with the game is the minimalism. Yes, I adore a game that isn’t busy and can be picked up at the drop of a hat. But a tutorial level wouldn’t have killed the game. A Navi-like guide (perhaps one less annoying) would have been a welcome guest in Toki Tori’s adventure, but it might have clashed with the simple layout the game has. 

Still, if you’re into puzzle platforming, this game is an absolute gem. As difficult as the game it, it’s quite forgiving when it needs to be, and above all, is a visual splendor.