I love puzzle adventure games, so I couldn't pass up the chance to play Toki Tori 2 on the PAX show floor. What's not to love about an adorable yellow bird tromping around a brightly animated forest? I got a hands-on with Two Tribe's second installment, yet first attempt at publishing a completely independent game, and was delightfully surprised!
Two Tribes launched the original Toki Tori over a decade ago for the Game Boy Color. I haven't played the first one for comparison, but the developers assured me that the mechanics of the second installment make for completely different gameplay regardless.
This time around, the cute yellow chicken (known as Toki Tori) uses his abilities to interact with the creatures around him to move forward in the level. This is a vastly different experience from the first game, where players were required to sort through an inventory management system to solve puzzles. I found myself enjoying the mechanics of this second installment -- as simple as it sounds on paper it's actually quite nice in practice.
As I traipsed around the game I found myself falling in love with the adorable little creatures on this lush planet. Each creature has its own ability which is activated upon Toki either singing or jumping on the ground to get their attention.
For example, tiny pink animated vegetables will follow Toki's singing voice and will bounce away the moment the music stops. Toki can feed these veggie creatures to a fat frog, who will eat one and then burp up a bubble to carry Toki to a new platform in the level. Each area in the game builds upon the lessons learned in the previous level, eliminating the need for any text instructions. I found it quite simple to figure these concepts out on my own and enjoyed the fact that the game didn't have to nag me.
When Toki finishes a level, the map of the planet opens up to display the various routes a player can take. I found it interesting that there's more than one way to complete a level, either via hidden paths or by interacting with creatures that take you to a different area. There also seems to be a teleport mechanic which is activated via a song and allows Toki to travel outside of the current level and straight to the map.
My favorite thing about the game is the Tokidex, which is Toki Tori 2's version of a Pokedex. When I came across a creature I hadn't seen before, I had the option to take a picture of it using the Wii U GamePad. There are 39 pictures to collect, with a surprise waiting for you if you catch 'em all. In addition to collecting pictures, players can also collect shiny golden puzzle pieces throughout the levels.
Toki Tori 2 is set to be released on April 4th for the Wii U eShop with a Steam release to follow in the summer. Two Tribes is still working on a starting price but are looking to keep it in line with similar games (most likely $15), which isn't bad for a game averaging 12-15 hours of play time. If you're at PAX be sure to check it out on the show floor - you can't miss the giant yellow bird!