Confession: I hadn’t played, or even heard of, Toki Tori prior to taking it on for review purposes. I’ve done some research into its history now, and it’s over a decade old, which surprised me a bit. That said, I’m glad I got to come into this with fresh eyes that hadn’t followed along with the game’s history, because it left me jumping into this PlayStation Network HD remake with no preconceptions; it turns out that even this isn’t actually new, having been released in Europe in 2011. I actually wonder, now, how I managed to avoid being aware of Toki Tori‘s existence prior to this.
For the others who, like myself, haven’t run across this adorable puzzle game, the mechanics and play are pretty simple. You take on the role of a freshly-hatched chick, Toki Tori (which my wife, who’s taken some Japanese courses, tells me translates to “Time Chicken”), out on a quest to recover your yet-unhatched nest mates. Levels are made up of a series of platforms, ladders, and the likes of which our young, yellow hero must navigate while collecting eggs. Other obstacles, such as enemies, pits, and walls may stand in the way of progress. The little lad isn’t without some tricks, though, and gets equipped with a number of helpful tools to traverse the paths and find his ovate siblings, including bridges, teleportation, and a freeze ray that turns enemies into stepping-stones – or impassable objects. The plucky fowl can also reverse time at-will, sending himself careening back to moments before a crucial mistake or death.
Not having played any of the previous iterations, I can’t speak to exactly how upgraded the game’s visuals are, but it looks great. If Wikipedia is to be believed, it’s also 3D-capable, though I’m not sure what, exactly, that would add; same goes for the PlayStation Move support, which I think I’d find distracting — the controls are simple, responsive, and functional as-is. Each new tool is introduced by a level in which our adorable adventurer has unlimited uses to play around with; since any incorrect actions can simply be rewound, this is a great way to get into them and see how they work as well as how they don’t. After that, you’ve got to be more careful, as uses are limited, but again, rewinding your mistakes makes feeling things out a simple, painless process.
All told, the varying level of challenges presented by the “Normal” levels, added on to by “Hard” and “Bonus” levels, means there’s plenty of content here; with decent sound and great visuals, Toki Tori on the PSN presents plenty for the $4.99 price tag. The new content exclusive to this port means there’s something here for the series veterans as well as newcomers, and the fun, approachable gameplay is easy to acclimate to for the uninitiated like myself. I’d consider Toki Tori a great value and a fun diversion between more “hardcore” games.
[+Good, adorable visuals] [+Variety to puzzle elements] [+Rewind feature for mistakes] [+Minimal story/loading screens to keep you away from action] [-Music gets a bit annoying]