Based on the 2001 Game Boy Color classic, Toki Tori 3D is a new version of Toki Tori developed specifically for the Nintendo 3DS, alongside fellow indie developer Engine Software, whose staff is composed of people who originally worked on Eggbert, the game that inspired Toki Tori.
Toki Tori 3D is a budget puzzle game where you play as a small bird that is on a mission to retrieve eggs. It’s never really explained whether or not they are your eggs or how they got scattered across the various locations that you travel to, however you’ve taken it upon yourself to rescue them regardless.
This game is presented in the style of a very basic 2D platform game, and I mean incredibly basic. The stages are all very compact (no more than a couple of screens in size) and consist of platforms, walls, ladders and a few hazards like simple enemies or lava pits. Each stage contains a number of eggs and it’s your job to collect them all. You can collect them in any order you see fit and once you’ve reached the last one the stage ends.
The challenge lies in trying to reach all the eggs in one go with the limited abilities available to you. As you’d expect, your character can walk around and climb ladders as standard, however you are unable to jump! A strange choice for a platform game, however this is where the puzzle solving aspect comes into play.
Every time you begin a stage you’ll have an inventory of skills available to you. If you’ve ever played games like Lemmings or Worms then this system will probably seem a bit more familiar to you. The skills in this game range from building bridges, spawning blocks, shifting obstacles and even limited teleportation. At the beginning of each stage you’ll have access to some, but not all of these skills. Depending on how the stage is structured you may have some skills which you can use as often as you like, whereas some you’ll only be able to use a limited number of times.
This is where the puzzle solving part comes into play. At any point during the stage you can move the camera around freely in order to observe how the stage is laid out. You have to take a look at what skills are available to you, how many times you can use each one and work out the optimum route to reach all of the eggs. If you judge incorrectly you may end up getting stuck in areas where you cannot reach the last few.
If you make any mistakes and need to try again there are a couple of options available to you. You can either restart the stage from the pause menu, however if you know where you went wrong you have the option of rewinding the stage (think Prince of Persia, Sands of Time).
This game controls well enough. Your character walks around with the D Pad, you can select which skill you want to use by either pressing and icon on the touch screen or you can scroll through them with L and R, and you can use the skill with a face button. You can rewind and fast forward using icons on the touch screen however the game does rewind quite quickly and I often find myself overshooting the moment where I want it to stop. The rewind mechanic could have done with being a bit more refined, but other than that the controls are fine.
As you begin playing, a lot of the puzzles may take you by surprise. There were many times when I thought the solution was obvious, only to discover that I’d misjudged some aspect of the route and needed to try again. Although you may need to take a moment to stop and think about where you’ve gone wrong, that is about as difficult as the puzzles get. This is also where I have my biggest gripe with this game.
Toki Tori has no time limit, no lives system, and to be honest not much in the way of challenge. If you ever make a mistake on your first attempt there are often not many alternative routes to take, so you’ll always beat a stages by trial and error alone. Hazards are very easy to avoid and the enemies are not really aggressive or threatening since they are programmed to just walk back and forth.
Since this game is only a budget title I didn’t have particularly high expectations. As Toki Tori has many cute and childish aesthetics I was just expecting a family friendly platform game. After being fooled by the puzzle elements a couple of times I was initially starting to warm to it, thinking this may not be as mundane as it first appeared. Unfortunately, as I continued playing it began to feel more like a chore than a game. I never felt challenged or invested in the experience. For me the game just got very boring very quickly.
Toki Tori is presented fairly nicely. Each world has its own theme and for such simple game the team has clearly made a bit of effort with the graphics. The sprites have been rendered from 3D models, the terrain is tile based although the textures all look pretty nice, and the backgrounds all help to add a sense of atmosphere to each stage. I particularly like how appealing the jungle and underwater stages look, however someone clearly dropped the ball when it came to making the sewer stage. I understand that sewers are not supposed to look pleasant, however all the surfaces are coated in green goo and the levels themselves are engulfed in a green mist. As a result this area looked like a garbled mess.
One little feature that I thought was cute was the transition stages that occur between worlds. They add nothing to the game itself however after you’ve beaten a world you get to play a short stage which displays how your character got from one area to the next. I really liked how the graphics from each world transcend into each other.
There isn’t a great deal to say about the sound. There is nothing bad about the music but it’s not particularly special. It just sounds a bit stock to be honest. It’s cheerful in tone but the melodies are not catchy and nothing really stands out.
The game consists of four worlds and has around 20 ‘normal’ stages in each. I say normal stages because each world has a set of ‘hard’ stages and a few bonus ones. As you play through the campaign occasional prompts will tell you when you have unlocked any additional levels. They are not mandatory to complete the game, however they are great for replay value.
Overall, Toki Tori 3D is a fun budget 2D platformer with good level design combined with charming visuals which makes this a must-have for puzzle enthusiasts.
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