In Toki Tori 2, you play as a chubby little chick named Toki Tori. (I’m just going to called him Toki for the sake of this review.) The land is being slowly engulfed by mysterious plumes of black smoke rising from the ground. It is up to you to put a stop to it and save the land!
There isn’t really much to the story here, and it unfolds so slowly that I didn’t even get what was going on without reviewing it later. The storytelling here felt ineffective to the point that I felt the game would have been better off without it entirely.
There are few songs that play in this game depending on the kind of region you are playing through, and they are generally very upbeat with a little bit of a tropical feel. The ukulele plays quick notes in the background while whistling comprises the melody. The music is complimented with occasional sounds of wildlife such as monkeys playing or various kinds of birds singing. The music alone incites a general feeling of happiness which feels right at home with the art style and slow gameplay offered here.
Sound effects are generally kept to a minimum here. The creatures you encounter make their logical sounds: frogs croak and the wings of birds flap. But there was one neat sound effect I quite enjoyed playing around with, and that was the function of making Toki whistle. By pressing the A or ZL buttons, Toki will whistle depending on how you press them. If you press it and hold it, Toki will sing a long and low note while pressing it quickly will result in a short and high note. I found that by playing around with this, I could have Toki sing in a variety of pleasant ways. There is more to the whistling mechanic, but I will delve into that a little later in this review.
Visuals and Performance
The visual style utilized in Toki Tori 2 is almost overwhelmingly cute. This is by no means a bad thing, but if a bright, colorful art style that in no way insinuates danger is not your cup of tea, then this will likely not appeal to you. However, it can be said that the visuals are sharp, and it really looks great in motion especially on the handheld screen.
This is a side scrolling game with nicely animated 3D environments and character models. The characters are generally animals and insects with liberties taken in their designs such as a giant purple, round insect with one big, round, humanoid eye. The characters had a lot of love put into them, and they are designed in a very child-friendly way.
The backgrounds and stages have a very pleasing aesthetic which makes great use of depth of field. Everything has a clear design, and the platforms are generally complimented with many details such as pottery laying around, grass growing everywhere and fossils sticking out of the dirt. I didn’t find much here that felt lazily designed or quickly thrown together, and I came to feel that the visuals were one of the high points of this game. However, with that said, few of the stages really stood out to me in any way or were particularly memorable. When I had finished played the game, I looked at a Let’s Play of it on Youtube, and I could barely even remember any of the stages. It took me a long time even to find the specific areas I wanted to double check simply because of how little of an impression it left on me.
Technically, the game runs great in handheld mode. I did not experience any slowdown, resolution drops or crashes. It doesn’t use any Switch-specific features aside from HD rumble. The rumble feels good, but it wasn’t used in any way which really enhanced the experience.
Toki Tori 2 is a side scrolling, 2D, puzzle-based platformer. Movement is rather slow, and you cannot jump. You need to use Toki’s abilities to manipulate the other characters to navigate the stages. Toki is able to whistle to call characters to it, and it can also pound the ground to stun some creatures or cause them to move away from you. Some of the critters you can interact with are hermit crabs who essentially act as moving platforms and frogs who can eat bugs to spit out bubbles of water which can carry Toki to where it needs to go.
Whistling can also also be used for a cool feature I did not expect at all which is reminiscent of the Legend of Zelda series. Much like playing certain notes in a particular order on those games results in magic, whistling specific series of notes in Toki Tori 2 yields interesting results. For example, playing two short high notes followed by two long short notes allows Toki to return to the last checkpoint it had reached. This is particularly useful if you get stuck in a certain place or just find it would be easier to jump back a little. There are a total of five songs. The game teaches you the first one quickly, and the others can be used right from the beginning of the game if you know the song. Within my first 30 minutes of playing, I randomly discovered three of the five songs just by playing random notes.
There really isn’t a whole lot more to the experience than this. You will find some stage mechanics such as teleporters which you will need to use to solve puzzles and things of that nature, but mostly you will just be going through the stages and solving increasingly complex puzzles.
Toki Tori 2 is going to offer you roughly 10 hours of gameplay depending on how long you get stuck on certain puzzles. There are quite a few stages to play through, so you will have plenty to do. There isn’t a whole lot of replay value in this game unless you are going to be interested in playing through it a second time while completing the puzzles as fast as possible. At $15 on the eShop, there is going to be plenty of competition for that price, but there are few that compete directly with this game in terms of the art direction and puzzle-focused platforming. If you love puzzle platformers and want a game with cute, child-friendly graphics that isn’t too challenging, then this one will be great for you. Otherwise, there are many other games on the eShop which will suit your needs.
* A review copy of Toki Tori 2 was provided to Switchwatch by Two Tribes.
Lovely Visual Style
Very Slow Gameplay
Stages and Puzzles Are Not Very Memorable