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Toki Tori 2+

Toki Tori 2 has burst onto the scene on the Nintendo Switch while formerly being on the Wii U. It is a puzzle platformer in which your character only has two abilities: a chirp, and a ground pound. You can also walk left or right, but you cannot jump. Solving puzzles involves figuring out how either chirping or ground pounding affects your environment or any nearby creatures, and also how nearby creatures affect the environment and each other.

In short, the game is about how many different ways you can use just two simple moves to progress further.

There is also a slight Metroidvania influence in that the levels aren’t necessarily linear. Sometimes you’ll encounter a puzzle you just can’t figure out, and have to move on in another direction. Later, a puzzle might teach you how to use your chirp or ground pound to create a reaction you hadn’t thought of, allowing you to go back and solve that earlier puzzle. Except unlike a Metroidvania, you’re not acquiring new abilities; you’re acquiring knowledge. This is the most brilliant new concept Toki Tori 2 brings to the table. Unfortunately, the Metroidvania influence also means you’ll be doing a lot of backtracking. A lot of backtracking. Eventually a world map opens up, allowing you to “fast travel” to previous areas of the game. But in order to progress to that puzzle you hadn’t solved yet, you’ll still have to redo a few previous puzzles to get there.

Also, it should be noted that the challenge ramps up quickly. Although the art direction looks like a kids game, it’s unlikely many kids will ever be able to finish it (let alone some adults). You’d think redoing a puzzle wouldn’t be so bad – after all, you know the “answers” now, right? – but often figuring out the answer is only half the challenge. Many puzzles involve exact timing with multiple moving parts. The result is that the game starts to feel tedious. Puzzles are never as fun to “solve” a second time, and they start to feel like obstacles that only exist to artificially increase the game’s length.

How much you enjoy Toki Tori 2 will depend on what enjoy about puzzle games. If you enjoy puzzles that test both your brain and your reflexes equally, this game was designed for you. But if you prefer puzzles that are finished once you’ve figured out the solution, or prefer puzzles that are more about timing, you may tire quickly.

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