July 13, 2013 12:48 AM | Nick Reineke
Toki Tori 2+, the refreshingly deep, yet accessible puzzle game by Two Tribes has found its way to Steam and I'm pleased to have had the opportunity to spend some time with it. It's not often anymore that a developer attempts to boldly allow the player to discover each and every subtle game mechanic with absolutely zero hand-holding or overt tutorialization, yet this is exactly what Toki Tori 2+ does, and this decision has allowed for the framework of the puzzle game to find a unique voice for itself.
Upon starting the game the player will be literally dropped into the game world with nothing. Your character, a small, yellow bird/chicken has only two main ways to interact with the world around him: a "tweet" (of which you'll learn new "songs" throughout the game) and a ground stomp - however, these two abilities are used in a huge variety of often unexpected ways. As you move about the environment you'll start to meet different types of creatures and notice patterns in behavior that the game intuitively structures the level design around. The creatures you meet are filled with life and a great amount of character and detail. They will interact with each other in sometimes unexpected ways as you seek to find your way around from point to point, collecting a few items along the way and seeking to discover why a mysterious black substance has started erupting from the ground.
Toki Tori 2+ features some exceedingly beautiful music and art design and very high production values - from the little details like the scared look in an NPC frog's eyes as he finds himself in a dark cave, to the bigger moments like when the music picks up as you gain some progress in a puzzle, you'll find the game has a great sense of pacing. You'll also undoubtedly notice the sense of scope broadens immensely as you make your way through the first few areas. Small forest grottoes give way toward massive volcanic mountains and creepy but tranquil caves with appropriately mysterious accompanying audio and visuals. Elements like light and sound will play a role in the puzzles as they organically evolve to meet the player, never leaving things to get repetitive or retread too much of the same ground.
Part of the charm and what makes Toki Tori 2+ so unique is the level structure. As players move into the later areas and become accustomed to the behaviors of the various creatures they might meet, they'll begin to realize that there were some things they may have missed in the earlier areas because they simply didn't pick up on a subtle trick that the game intuitively puzzles them into learning later. It's a very gratifying feeling to be able to wrap your mind around more complex concepts solely based on your own reasoning and progression and it's a feeling that is frequently evoked in the game.
I can wholeheartedly recommend checking out Toki Tori 2+ on Mac or PC, especially since it's on sale for $10 for several hours more on Steam, after which it will become its normal price of $14.99. There's a ton of content here, and I feel confident that puzzle game fans will get a lot of enjoyment out of the game.