At first glance Toki Tori looks like a less green, egg-shaped version of 80’s TV star Orville the Duck. Fortunately for Toki, rather than appearing on the arm of Keith Harris wearing only a nappy for nigh on a decade, he gets to star in his own video game by developer Two Tribes.
Toki Tori started life as a relatively unknown Game Boy Color title that missed out on major commercial appreciation by the overshadowing of the Game Boy Advance. Nevertheless two tribes shifted enough copies for it to earn somewhat of a cult status and it subsequently saw a re-birth on Nintendo’s WiiWare channel, and more recently a move to the App Store. Dyed in the wool fans hoping for a faithful remake of the Game Boy Color iteration may be sad to hear that Two Tribes has gone with a touchscreen mechanic that works in a similar way to the Wii version’s ‘point and click’ interface. If you are new to the Toki Tori series then this ‘tap and move’ gameplay will seem perfectly fine, but anyone used to the accuracy of the d-pad might find the small screen navigation a little clumsy.
At its most basic level Toki Tori is about finding and liberating Toki’s egg-shelled brethren to progress through the stages. As the levels advance Toki earns a number of abilities such as teleportation, bridge building and enemy freezing to aid his search and rescue campaign. While some stages will let you use these skills to your heart's content others will restrict you to limited usage, forcing you to use your noggin to decide when and where to unleash your precious talent. The root of the gameplay is firmly embedded in trial and error as most levels will require you to unshackle your egg-shaped chums in a certain order – if restarting a level over and over again sounds unappealing then you may want to stay away from Toki Tori.
That said it’s an incredibly enjoyable experience when the penny finally drops. The satisfaction of spending hours on a puzzle only for the solution to come screaming right at you is unparalleled. In a similar way to Bobby Carrot Forever, Toki Tori keeps you onside with some truly charming visuals and a happy-go-lucky soundtrack. Even after hours of seemingly frustrating puzzle solving you’ll still be grinning at Toki’s little waddle or his attempt at flight when you drop him off a high platform.
Having Toki Tori on a handheld console again is a great way to experience the series if you missed out in it the first time round. The touchscreen control mechanic might not sit so well with old school fans, but for newcomers with a patient disposition, Toki Tori is a real treat from the App store.
Toki Tori was reviewed with version 1.0.