It may not be a WiiWare game you’ve paid a great deal of attention to, nestling as it does next to the universally praised LostWinds and big name franchise fare such as Dr. Mario and Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles. But pay attention to Toki Tori you most certainly should, because it has the potential to be the biggest sleeper hit in WiiWare’s early release schedule.
Actually, ‘sleeper’ isn’t exactly the right word, as Toki Tori has already picked up a healthy wedge of plaudits through its original release on the Game Boy Color in 2001. Don’t go running away in a screaming fit of portophobia though. The tight, immediate action-puzzling you’ll find here is a perfect fit for WiiWare, and this new and improved version of the game is a very satisfying little package of fun indeed.
Blending elements of The Lost Vikings, Dizzy, Lemmings and Troddlers, Toki Tori puts you in control of the titular egg-shaped chicken on a quest to find his still shell-bound siblings. No seriously, come back. It’s great, we promise. You’ll mount this epic rescue attempt across forty 2D platform levels – plus additional, unlockable, extra hard ones – utilising Toki’s full range of physical attributes; namely the ability to walk left and right and fall down holes. Thankfully though, his pioneering levels of ineptitude are augmented by an ever-increasing array of tools with which he can get around.
For a small, naked bird he manages to keep a hell of a lot of hardware hidden about his person, and can make use of everything from bridges and teleports to building blocks and a variety of interesting methods of neutralising enemies. The catch is in the fact that he usually only gets a limited number of pre-allocated items to complete each level, a la Lemmings, and your task is to ration them off tactically for use in the right situations in the right order.
It sounds like a simple concept. Boring even. But Toki Tori’s deceptively accessible puzzles quickly evolve into gloriously infuriating head-scratchers. Between the logical, the spacial and the causal you’ll eventually find yourself having to juggle a huge array of inter-relating elements to achieve success. It’s one of those games that will hear your impassioned screams alternate between “I’m an idiot”, "I’m a genius”, and “This level is broken. It can’t be done” on a constant loop.