You'll be forgiven if the name Toki Tori doesn't ring any bells. The original was released more than 10 years ago on the Game Boy Color. Although it may not have turned into a breakout hit, gamers have since been able to enjoy a remake on PC, Mac, PS3, iOS, Android, and Wii.
Developer Two Tribes is hoping to reach an even larger audience with Toki Tori 2. When asked why the developer thought that now was the time for a sequel, they admitted that they've had "several false starts" over the years. But now, they have the proper resources to finish the game.
Toki Tori 2 is a very colorful, animated 2D puzzle-platformer. The goal was to create a "living, breathing game world where the creatures that inhabit it act as the tools for the player to solve the puzzles," said Collin van Ginkel, the game's designer. Indeed, there are many animals scattered about the level, and it's up to you to figure out how you can interact with them. Your character has the ability to chirp and stomp--and that's it. There's no jump, there's no grab, etc.
There's also no hand-holding, either. Other than a wooden sign that shows you those two abilities, the game gives you no clues as to how to progress. It takes good old-fashioned experimentation to piece together your abilities. For example, by stomping, I realized I can make a berry fall. What happens if I lure a frog to it? It belches an air bubble that I can ride to another part of the level. Although it may be cute and "simplistic," the puzzles are surprisingly intricate. There were a number of puzzles I couldn't figure out--and simply had to bypass.
It's refreshing to have a game where a dialog window doesn't appear telling you exactly what to do. For example, in one part of the demo, I had to hide from ferocious predatory birds. You can't simply walk out in the open. I figured out that I can use my chirp--and run into the tall grass to hide from their gaze.
The visuals are so colorful and alluring that it's hard not to feel bewitched, even when your bird plummets to a horrifying spiked pit death. Even from my short time with the game, it's evident that it's a labor of love. Toki Tori 2 will be available on PC, Mac, iOS, and Android with a Wii U version also planned.