Toki Tori is a challenging puzzle game wrapped up in an incredibly cute package. This title could definitely catch someone unprepared, as it looks almost like a platforming game. My youngest adores those types of games and was curious about the vibrantly colored yellow chick, but was surprised that it was a slower paced puzzle game instead.
I know Toki Tori has been around for years, but my first brush with it came with Steam's Potato Sack bundle several years ago. It was one of the games I touched on in this article if you are curious about it.
The game feels a bit late coming to the PlayStation Network, as there is already a PC sequel out, but it is a very welcome addition all the same. Everything is smoothly animated, with bright backgrounds and main characters, with a peppy, cheerful soundtrack to back it all up. The premise is also simple at a glance, as your objective is to wander around individual levels and pick up each of the eggs scattered about.
Where things get tricky is in the execution. There is no jump button, so you have to rely on gravity, ladders and your various tools to navigate each of the levels. Sometimes you will find that you need to put down a bridge in a specific spot. Other challenges may call for you to freeze a particular enemy in a specific place. Perhaps on another level you will need to rely on your ability to teleport short distances to get onto the other side of a solid wall.
This by its very nature invites a ton of experimentation, but thankfully Toki Tori has a very gentle rewind system that really encourages trial and error instead of a more draconian game-ending punishment for making mistakes. You can warp things back a short period of time and try to tackle the level from a different perspective, or simply start a level over if you realize you got off to the wrong foot altogether. There are a variety of words, which sometimes introduce new tools and mechanics, but mostly serve as a new background aesthetic, but they provide enough levels to bend your brain for quite a few hours. Some of the puzzles could be described as frustrating and I can see where this would cause younger gamers to give up, even if the charming presentation roped them in initially.
Thankfully the different tools and levels that teach you how to use them are very carefully constructed. They give you a solid idea of how you will use them to your benefit as you navigate the screen. Toki Tori also has a 3D option, which looks surprisingly good. You are not getting a great sense of depth like you might running away from the screen in a game like uncharted, but I found the effect enjoyable and it did not put any strain on my eyes at all. So many developers have abandoned 3D in games, so I was pleasantly surprised by its inclusion as a fairly early 3D adopter.
If you like a good mental challenge and do not wrinkle your nose at sugary sweet presentations, Toki Tori deserves to be played. I am quite hopeful that Toki Tori two finds its way onto the PlayStation Network sooner than later, because these are games I find worth investing in. I will score this one an 8 out of 10.