Everything has a purpose.
That seems to be the mantra of Toki Tori 2+, a charming and peaceful, yet deceptively challenging puzzler from Two Tribes. You control Toki Tori, an egg-shaped yellow bird that’s somehow tasked with saving the forest from the corruption seeping through it. Journeying through lush green forests, dark caves, and anything in between, you and Toki Tori will solve puzzles together to proceed.
But it’s not just a simple case of blatant puzzle solving. The most important task is to find a way for the nearly flightless bird to cross gaps and scale walls. To do so, you must manipulate the creatures around you and utilize your surroundings to travel. You also need to weave your way through the sprawling world, filled with nooks and crannies that may or may not lead to somewhere. Traveling is never easy for our feathered friend.
Toki Tori 2+ is a puzzler with a minimalist concept. Your only tools are the whistle and the stomp. There are no flashy skills to learn; everything you need is given to you right at the start of the game. It’s up to you and your creativity to see your whistling, stomping bird through the end.
Let’s talk about the whistle first. This tool serves two purposes: to attract the attention of other critters around you and to sing helpful melodies. The first one is self-explanatory – whistle around them, and they will turn their attention to you, as long as they’re within your whistle range. Most of the time you’ll be whistling to frogs, bluebirds, and hermit crabs of different sizes.
The whistle’s other purpose is to sing different melodies. Toki Tori can whistle different notes, and how long you hold the button determines the size of the note. There are five songs in total, all of which have practical uses. For example, the rewind melody allows you to go back to your most recent save point if you need to reset a puzzle. Fast travel between warp points is also just a song away. They’re optional but they’re essential.
The stomp, on the other hand, has a more basic function than the whistle. Breaking platforms and scaring hermit crabs away are just some of the things you can do with it. Acting as the essential second half of a one-two step sequence, stomp is what puts your plan in motion. Ready to see your ingenuity in action? Stomp and find out.
Of course, learning about those two tools is just the beginning. Everything else is up to you: learning what each creature does, how they synergize with each other, and how the whistle+stomp combo affects them. It may take a few tries to get everything working correctly, but with patience, you will eventually make it through.
One thing to keep in mind, however, is that everything you see on the screen has a purpose. Setting things up is not a matter of timing but cause-and-effect chains. There’s no momentum to worry about or angles to mind, and you can’t just jump hoping you will make it to the next platform. It’s a trial-and-error exercise, one that makes you take a step back to observe things.
On the other hand, going after all of the collectibles is where Toki Tori 2+ is at its weakest. The most dastardly wing-shaped pieces are usually placed where you need to do a setup from several screens ago and somehow have the foresight to do so. Curiosity is your best friend here: you will sometimes notice a few extra creatures as you prepare to leave the area. But realizing the exact moment you need them and finding the exact area that requires them usually involves tedious setups that hinge on the border of “worth it” and “never mind.”
Going back to any missed pieces is also a test of patience sometimes. Because you can only warp to activated checkpoints, you will have to solve some puzzles all over again to get to that one remote spot you need. Some areas have molehill shortcuts that allow you to bypass an area entirely, but they’re not common. Other areas are also only accessible from a different side, which means you have to mind where you warp.
Thankfully, the music does a great job of sitting perfectly in the background without being distracting, but still managing to be noticeable enough during idle times. In a game that requires more brain-power than skill, this is a boon. The game’s visuals act the same way too – they’re popping with color and the details are smooth, but they never take too much of your attention. Two Tribes skilfully balances aesthetics with gameplay.
Overall, Toki Tori 2+ is a strong puzzler that’s great for burst sessions instead of long marathons. Thanks to its reliable autosave system, you’re always free to put it down and continue later. It has a gentle way of introducing new things without inundating you with walls of tutorial text. Two Tribes’ creativity with just two buttons, combined with your own, makes for a game that sneakily compels you to keep solving.
Note: Two Tribes provided a copy for review purposes.