A little mobile games backlog? Definitely. I’m taking the latest update of Toki Tori on a date and we’re fashionably late to the party. Developed by Two Tribes and published by Chillingo, puzzle-platformer Toki Tori traveled through the Game Boy Color and WiiWare before making this stop in the App Store – and you should be glad he did. This little chicken is the ticket to grand adventure as you help Toki Tori bring all the eggy offspring back to the farm.
The idea is simple, you must guide the little yellow fellow through eighty stages of forest, castle, sewer and water to rescue stranded eggs. To collect an egg Toki must only touch it, but getting there is the challenge. The portly guy can only hop up onto very low ledges, scale ladders and jump down to platforms below. He can easily become trapped, at which point all you can do is begin again. Sometimes a quick “undo” would be nice! Toki’s a clever chicken, though, and brings some tools to the task like bridges, rocks, an ice gun and the ability to warp. He works with stiff quotas, however, and only certain items in limited quantities will be available on a level. That would be where the puzzle part of the game comes in.
Moving Toki Tori is as easy as a tap of the screen to the destination point. If he can get there, he’ll go there. When, however, you tap a location he cannot reach it is illustrated by a circle of red X’s and he will stay put. This same red ring of no-go appears for items like the warp, so you don’t end up accidentally sending Toki into a cliff wall. With so much precision at your fingertips it is easy to avoid encounters with the spiky hedgehogs and lava, so long as your strategy keeps Toki clear of them (or well-armed).
To develop this strategy, the view of the screen can be shifted by pinching and reverse-pinching. The beginning of each stage gives you an overview of the locations of the eggs, and you can watch as long as you like before beginning, a valuable time to plot and scheme before you get Toki Tori stuck in a ditch. A great looking game, the menus and onscreen items are top-notch. All available items are displayed on the left, with a number indicating how many you have remaining of each. Likewise, the number of eggs left in a level appears in the upper right, an essential clue for whether or not it’s safe to send Toki irretrievably forward.
The game looks so darn friendly and the task sounds so easy, but that wily chicken has you fooled: the game is hard. When a new item comes into play you get a level to try it out, but otherwise it is persistent in its challenge – this is why I love that there is no time limit! One unique game item is the wildcard, which when used marks a stage as complete so you can advance to the next. The wildcard is singular and once used the only way to get it back is to return the level you used it on and complete it properly.
The latest game update brings new bonus levels, iPod music playback, and auto screen flip. Also, a button to refocus the camera on Toki Tori and a Random level feature for when you finish the game. The only thing here that you may miss is online, but I don’t think it would be a good fit for the game.
The look and sound of the game is beautiful, full of crisp, saccharine goodness. There’s no escaping that the tottering Toki Tori is really darn cute, but don’t let the cuteness fool you – there’s a serious game here. A serious, incredibly likable, game – charm, wit and good looks all in one chick.