It’s been well over a decade since developer Two Tribes B.V. released Toki Tori for the Gameboy Color in 2001. Since its initial release, the game has seen several enhanced remakes and rereleases on different platforms, including Windows, Android, and iOS. However, Toki Tori 2 is Two Tribes’ first direct sequel to the game and is shaping up to be a fun puzzler with a strict no-text rule.
In Toki Tori 2, players control a yellow chick named Toki Tori who has just two abilities: one to stomp, the other to whistle. By using both actions appropriately and in unique combinations, players make their way through puzzles and across levels to complete the game. For instance, Toki Tori can stomp to scare creatures blocking his path out of the way or whistle to make other creatures follow him.
The first thing I noticed when I booted up the game for my hands-on demo is the lack of text in the game. I was told by co-founder Martijn Reuvers that the game specifically avoids text and hand-holding, meaning players have to figure out how to play the game entirely on their own. By moving the analog stick and using the face buttons, I quickly figure out how to navigate, stomp, and whistle.
The game is cute and simplistic. Different animals help Toki Tori navigate the world. For example, by whistling near a frog, it will face a specific direction. Then by stomping he’ll blow a bubble Toki Tori can jump into to float up to different locations. Birds will also swoop down to grab Toki Tori and take him to different areas. By interacting with certain creations with specific moves, Toki Tori can manipulate his world to travel with the help of other critters.
Toki Tori 2 is a vibrant, fun, laid back puzzler that plenty of people can enjoy. The lack of combat, side-scrolling gameplay, puzzle mechanics, and deliberate lack of tutorials and hand holding is reminiscent of the days of classic games such as Megaman. Almost every game nowadays has a specific section or level dedicated to teaching the player how to play the game, but Toki Tori 2 does not. Rather, the game is its own tutorial, teaching players bit by bit and letting them experiment on their own to solve puzzles. The formula works, leaving interpretation and learning how to play entirely in the player’s hands, which gives Toki Tori 2 a unique charm. Find out for yourself what Toki Tori 2 is all about when it releases on the Wii U on April 4 and later on Steam and other platforms.