Puzzle/platforming fans, rejoice! If you've been looking for a brain-teasing game that'll work those mental muscles, Toki Tori 2 has joined the party. Is Two Tribes' sequel to its hit puzzle game worth throwing down your hard-earned cash for, or is it another lackluster follow-up?
If you've played the first Toki Tori, you'll quickly notice Toki Tori 2's change of format. Gone is the selectable zone/level format of the original; instead we have a larger world map with sprawling, separated levels more akin to Super Mario World or a Metroidvania title. Toki Tori is a bird of few words, and the game with the same name is equally stoic — you'll find no wordy tutorials or hand-holding here. You'll learn by doing and observing, and while it's great to have a game that doesn't insult your intelligence by over-explaining everything, it would have been nice to have some of the more obtuse gameplay elements explained a bit more clearly.
Though Toki Tori's puzzle-solving toolset is small, there's a deceptiveness to its utility. Initially Toki Tori can only stomp and whistle, but it's how these two abilities interact with the world that makes up the genius of the puzzle-solving. The whistle and stomp frequently act as attract/repel functions to the other creatures in the world, each of whom has their own powers. You'll use your skills to guide these creatures into place so that you can find every puzzle piece and make it to the end of the stage. In addition to your basic toolset, you can also learn a few tunes with magical effects, like summoning a bird to take pictures and rewinding time. These songs are part of where Toki Tori 2's decision to minimize tutorials works against it, however, as it may take some players a while to figure out exactly what each of these tunes do without having any in-game explanation to guide them.
The audio/visual side of Toki Tori 2 is absolutely great, with crisp, aesthetically pleasing visuals that have their own charming style and music that soothes and entices the player. The controls are just as straightforward as the game's AV, with only two buttons for the player to content with, whistle and stomp.
Toki Tori 2's campaign has plenty for adventure-hungry players to do, with multiple pathways through the levels and different areas to explore and unlock. What helps this title have an even longer shelf-life, however, is the player-created content. Industrious players can create and upload community levels for others to enjoy. Given that the game hasn't been out on PC for long it's unclear just how robust the level-building community will be, but all it takes is a small, devoted fanbase to keep something like this alive for those desiring a new challenge.
When making a sequel, it's always easier for the game developers to mimic the original and hope to ride on the success of what made their first endeavor great. Two Tribes broke out of the box with Toki Tori 2, and created a game that changed the formula, but kept the spirit of the original intact. Anyone with a hankering for a good cerebral challenge should definitely check out this charming indie puzzle/platformer.
This review is based on a purchased Steam edition of Toki Tori 2+ for PC.