Originally a hidden gem on the Gameboy Color, Toki Tori since then has evolved into a Wiiware and Appstore puzzle-platformer, rebuilt from the ground up. What we have here are more levels, enhanced graphics, new gameplay, and just about more of everything. So the question is: Was this bird meant to collect its eggs, or is it better off in a McDonalds Happy Meal?
In Toki Tori, you control a cute little chicken that has lost its eggs. Throughout each of the game’s many levels, it is your goal to retrieve them. Simple enough, but easier said than done. A strew of enemies are thrown throughout the mix, enemies that have to be either cleverly avoided, or fought with weapons of your own. Enemies however, aren’t the only problem. The main challenge in Toki Tori is managing your items so that you can navigate the levels, using your wits as opposed to your yellow bird’s brawn.
The game is simple enough to control: touch where you want the chicken to move. And it works, amazingly well too. The simple interface may seem a bit awkward at first, but with the amount of polish in the game, you’ll be happy you weren’t given a d-pad. I have never once found a problem with touching where I want the cute chicken to go, and the combination of auto-movement and icon item usage is simply superb. In fact, the game even GUIDES Toki Tori through ladders, and shortcuts to get to the area in which you tap. If a certain area is blocked off, it will simply appear as several Xs. Sometimes you may want to turn your bird around to use an item, this can be done by tapping Toki Tori. Sometimes you may want to view the whole level, this can be done via two finger screen swipes. Everything is so responsive and you are given so many options, the controls are some of the best you may ever see on an iDevice.
Several items are thrown throughout the mix to help you. Bridges allow you to cross broken paths, telewarp lets you warp Toki Tori past immovable obstacles, there’s a freeze ray that turns enemies into ice, ghost traps, slug vacuums, instant rocks, and more! These items, in most cases, are limited in use, so you find yourself having to using them cautiously and timing them so that their use will be most profitable. There are often many ways in which to beat a level by collecting all of the eggs, and yet the game is STILL challenging during later levels. However, the game has a rather ingenious WildCard feature, which allows you to skip a level and move on to the next one. Even better, if you beat the level you used the wildcard in, you get it back. More games should have something similar.
Another new feature is the rewind. This allows you to go back in time to reverse any screw ups you might have had. This feature is simply genius. As opposed to having to start over a level when you die or mess up, the rewind allows you to go back several steps to when you didn’t mess up, so you never have to technically restart a level all over again. This is great if you were doing well, and one simple mistake messed you up. All in all, these handy features (with a surplus of levels) help the game maintain its challenge, but rarely pass the border on the “frustrating” zone.
Graphically, the game is simply as good as it gets. From screenshots alone, you can tell it looks absolutely incredible. The worlds are so detailed, the character looks so great, every piece of the game is eye candy. The water in the grassy plains look amazing, the lava in the ghost castle, the slime in the sewer are gleaming with polish. Does the game animate as well as it plays? Yes. Toki Tori moves smoothly, has awesome idle animations if you don’t play for a while, and the enemies all get the job done. Sound is great, several awesome songs are included in the game, and iPod controls make listening to your own music a breeze.
This game is fun. Incredible fun. It is quite honestly hard to criticize this game, since it is so amazing. Rarely does one find a game with this much polish, this many levels, and this much cuteness. Games like these really help the AppStore stand out, and weirder yet, the iPhone version has more levels than the Wiiware version, making it an even BETTER deal.
iFanzine Verdict: Simply put, Toki Tori is fun, has over 80 levels, plays well, looks incredible, is challenging, and is on sale (as of the date writing this). Games like these push the limits of the AppStore to new heights, and this is a game not to be missed by anyone.
[xrr rating= 5/5]