By Yusouf . April 1, 2012 . 1:30pm
Due to the beta nature of the game, some features that are discussed here might change entirely when the full game ships.
As someone who just jumped into Toki Tori 2 without playing its prequel, one of the things I discovered at the start of the game was that Toki Tori couldn’t jump! At first this seemed like a strange decision, but the game is intentionally designed with the lack of a jump feature in mind. Instead of letting you jump, it encourages you to think and experiment with how you bypass obstacles in your path with the limited options available to you.
So, if the main character can’t flap its wings to navigate and isn’t exactly very mobile, then what can he possibly do? He can either whistle or stomp the ground. These decisions were made based on the characteristics of Toki Tori being: 1. a bird (he whistles) and 2. fat (he stomps). Both have different effects on each creature in the game. The beta version introduces several types of creatures that will help you along your journey.
Or, to be more precise, they won’t help you, but you will have to make them. That’s how Toki Tori 2 works—you have to manipulate your environment in order to complete the various stages.
First, there is a blue creature which is called “Bubblefrog”. True to its name, this creature will be the main method of air transport in Toki Tori 2, where it will produce bubbles if Toki Tori stomps near it. The catch is that Bubblefrogs can’t produce bubbles infinitely without a food source. This is when another bizarrely designed creature called the “Berrybug” comes into play. Due to its small size, it will roll away from the direction Toki Tori stomps. Roll the Berrybug into the direction of the Bubblefrog, and it’ll be able to produce another bubble.
Another creature that roams the lands of Toki Tori 2 is the “Bird”. If that name sounds a little plain, it’s because the developer still hasn’t decided on a specific name for this creature. If this Bird catches a sight of Toki Tori, it will grab him and bring him back to its nest. This could be either a curse or a blessing, depending on your goal at the time. The Bird can be avoided by sneaking in the tall grass or even making the Bubblefrog into a decoy so that you can sneak through the area while the Bird’s attention is shifted towards the Bubblefrog. Solid Snake would be proud.
According to the developers, the original Toki Tori gave a very limited freedom to players with regard to how they completed levels, where it was achieved by a combination of items to be used in an exact order at the exact positions the designers wanted. In contrast, Toki Tori 2 was designed to be a game where Toki Tori would have less options but more possibilities available to him. Or to put it simply, he’ll be able to do more with less.
For example, Toki Tori can influence the area where grass grows by going into the water and walking on top of fresh patches of grass in order to make them grow taller to hide him from the Birds. However, some these interactive environments can also hinder Toki Tori’s progress. One example is the the stone statues in the game, which move depending on how close Toki Tori is to them. If you aren’t careful, you could accidentally drop one of these on a Bubblefrog, which might be essential for the obstacles further down the level. Thankfully, there’s a restart button, in case you ever get yourself into such a fix.
One odd issue that will hopefully be addressed in the full game is during the transition from one area into another. In the current version, once Toki Tori reaches the checkpoint and deposits his collectibles, the screen freezes up for a few seconds before loading a new area. Even once the area is loaded, the surroundings are at a different zoom level which makes it feel like you aren’t in the same area. This tends to break the flow of the game somewhat.
The beta version of Toki Tori 2 comes with only one level, and once the end is reached, it will transport Toki Tori back to the starting point for an endless level loop. A level editor was included with the beta as well.
For more information regarding Toki Tori 2, you can check out the developer’s website, where they discuss the development process and game features. Toki Tori 2 will be released in spring for the PC and Mac through Steam, followed by iOS, Android and Wii U versions.
Food for thought:
1) Some of the features in game are in a mystery at this point, like the checkpoint and the collectibles. As this is still a beta build, there were several minor glitches like Toki Tori getting stuck in a platform and the checkpoint not showing the number of collectibles acquired.
2) I can’t stress this enough, but the level transition really breaks the flow of the game. It would probably be better if once the chick reaches the checkpoint, a results screen is shown and the player is taken back to the level select screen instead of making the game load another level on a freezing screen.