Review: Toki Tori 2+ (Switch)

The cult favorite has landed on Switch, but is it worthy of a second look on Nintendo’s hybrid console?

By Robert Marrujo. Posted 03/15/2018 09:30 Comment on this     ShareThis
The Final Grade
grade/score info
1-Up Mushroom for...
Improved over the original Toki Tori 2 on Wii U, making it the definitive version of the game; wonderful presentation; unique mix of platforming and puzzle gameplay; Toki Tori is easy to root for!
Poison Mushroom for...
Some puzzles are overly obtuse; sedate gameplay might be too slow paced for some players.

Toki Tori has been kicking around as a franchise as far back as the days of Game Boy Color, which is pretty impressive for a series created by an indie developer. Two Tribes brought the original Toki Tori 2 to Wii U back in 2013. We enjoyed it at the time, noting that it was “a very unique and cerebral experience” but that “players are left too much to their own devices.” In the years since Toki Tori 2 hit Wii U, the game has been tweaked and modified in multiple ways, so much so that it was rechristened as Toki Tori 2+. Many of the complaints that were levied at the title back in 2013 have since been corrected, making it a much more enjoyable experience than it was at launch.

With this release of Toki Tori 2+ on Switch, fans are truly getting the definitive version of the game. We’ll direct you here to the original review of Toki Tori 2 for the basics. In short, however, Toki Tori 2+ is a platformer-puzzle game that emphasizes experimentation and a minimalist control scheme. Input is limited to one button for whistling and another for pounding the ground. That might sound bare bones, but the reality is that with just those two actions there’s an entire litany of different ways to combine them and engage with the game’s numerous puzzles. Toki Tori 2+ does an astounding job of presenting different puzzles to players and, rather than guide them ad nauseam through every little mechanic available, it instead sets them free to play around and figure things out for themselves.

It’s this last bit that got Toki Tori 2 into some hot water back in the day. It was generally agreed that the original version of the game was a tad too freewheeling in its design, giving players virtually no indication of what to do or where to go. While that can be exciting to an extent, there’s a very fine line between engendering a sense of player agency and throwing them up the creek without a paddle. Sadly, Toki Tori 2 at its inception fell more in line with the latter, but thanks to a handful of different nips and tucks, the game was able to eventually conform to the ideology of the former. Thankfully, while Two Tribes could have easily rested on its laurels and simply ported the latest version of Toki Tori 2+ to Switch, the studio has done yet more pruning and engineering to make this iteration the best on any platform.

One element of Toki Tori 2+ that continued to stoke the ire of fans was its unwieldy checkpoint system. On Switch, players can now employee a special melody that allows them to create a checkpoint instantaneously in the game world. This is especially important given the portable nature of gaming on Switch, meaning it’s much easier for gamers on the go to set up checkpoints as necessary depending on the rush they find themselves in as they scramble for the exit on a crowded BART train. Considering how long it can take to redo certain puzzles after making an error and having to start over, even people playing at home will be grateful for the increased ease of use this new setup enables.

What hasn’t changed and will likely continue to polarize fans is the regularity with which some puzzles will come across as unsolvable. Every puzzle in the game has a solution, of course, but when players have slammed and whistled for a seeming lifetime trying to suss out how to get past a given section, it won’t feel like that. Basically, what hasn’t changed with Toki Tori 2+ on Switch is that some of the puzzles are overly obtuse and it can grind the pace of play to a halt, as a result. In my time playing the game I didn’t run into this issue a ton, but I can say that it happened enough to me that even I was a bit irritated and imagine that players who aren’t able to connect the different elements at the same level as me will be even more frustrated. I will say that the puzzles have a very logical flow to them, so don’t give up: again, there is always a solution! Just think about how the different enemies and elements interact with each other and go from there.

Toki Tori 2 was already a looker on Wii U, so it’s no surprise that this Switch take is just as pretty. Granted, this isn’t an action-packed thrill ride of a game, but the art direction is nevertheless captivating, with pops of bright, beautiful color and some truly cute characters to look at. Toki Tori is adorable and very easy to root for as he waddles his way around the game world. The soundtrack is perfectly suited to the action and serves to round out what is a legitimately delightful presentation package right up there with some AAA titles. It’s a shame that Two Tribes has been hit hard in recent years, as the studio might not have produced a ton of games in its time, but what it has released is always rock solid and worthy of a play.

Toki Tori 2+ definitely won’t be for everyone. Its serene nature and sedate pacing might turn off those who want their games to be more visceral and speedy. For fans who want something outside the box and truly unique, Toki Tori 2+ is a must-own on Switch. It looks great, sounds great, and plays better than any other iteration of the title to date. It’s wonderful to see a development team refuse to give up on a title so many years after launch. We wholeheartedly recommend that you head to the eShop and give Toki Tori 2+ a download!

Nintendojo was provided a copy of this game for review by a third party, though that does not affect our recommendation. For every review, Nintendojo uses a standard criteria.

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