There are a host of cute little characters dashing around the screens of iPhones worldwide but in Toki Tori, we think we’ve found our favourite.
Toki Tori is a chicken… at least we think he’s a chicken. He has webbed feet which suggests duck, yet he cannot fly. He’s also yellow. We’re sticking with chicken. (ahem) Toki Tori IS a chicken, tasked with recovering eggs across a variety of worlds filled with obstacles, nasty creatures and a lot of brain-bending fun along the way.
Traditionally, platform games have been a struggle for iPhone developers since the birth of the App Store. What input method does one take when it comes to controlling your character across the levels? Some have opted for the classic keypad to direct the action but, without any tactile feedback, it’s tough to keep track of your commands. Then there’s the accelerometer-powered tilting method which is a little more eratic and likely to make you look quite strange when playing in public. Toki Tori has seemingly found the perfect option for touch screen, platform gaming. By simply pressing the point on the screen you want your character to move to you’re in complete control of the action without having to have a finger touching the screen at all times.
What’s enjoyable about Toki Tori compared to your standard platform game is that it’s the shortcomings of the hero that create the challenges. If the little guy could fly (definitely a chicken) you could probably finish each level in a matter of seconds. If he could jump over things a lot of of the tearing out of hair would be removed. But how much fun would that be?
The game’s levels are of mixed difficulty, from fairly straightforward to downright MENSA standard. As you progress you are provided with new tools to help you complete each level, including small bridges, blocks to climb on, a teleport and so on. The number of items you are provided with at the beginning of each level serves as a clue as to how the level should be completed, and the rest is up to you. We’ve found trial and error is the best approach at first, don’t expect to rip through stages one after the other, you’ll be restarting levels frequently (a mercifully snappy process) as you come up with new ways to utilise the tools at your disposal and avoid the baddies in your way. We also highly recommend using the pinch action (two fingers moving together in a pinching motion) during the game to get your bearings and figure a level out before committing to anything. It’s all too easy to find yourself trapped or left unarmed in front of the enemy.
For such a fun and relatively inexpensive game, you would expect the app to look fairly average but, by comparison to others in this genre, Toki Tori offers some of the best graphics we’ve seen on the iPhone – perhaps any platform. It’s not just attractive backgrounds and effects either, tiny details like Toki Tori’s movements, dripping sludge in the later levels and rich, cartoon colour all combine to make this a glowing example of the way all iPhone games should look.
What would we change? Very little. Perhaps a few in-built hints if you needed them. We’re not saying we’re impatient, but a gentle nudge in the right direction every now and again wouldn’t hurt. There is a “wildcard” option that allows you to skip one level but, unless you can eventually complete that level, you don’t get your wildcard back. Ours is still stuck somewhere in the second chapter!
With four stages available, each with ten levels, there’s plenty of fun to be had with Toki Tori and it’ll take you a good while to progress through all of them. Hours if not days in fact. We were hooked from our first play and, during the course of this review, found plenty of opportunities to “re-visit” the game just to keep our addiction fed.
If you like the idea of a classic platformer for your iPhone sprinkled with all the modernday graphical magic the iPhone affords, you can’t go wrong with Toki Tori.
Fun Factor: 9.0
Value For Money: 8.8
Kung Fu Verdict: 9