Essential iOS games – Part 4 – Toki Tori

January 7, 2012

Toki Tori and I go way back, at least as far as when I used to write reviews for a popular PDA website. The reasoning behind adding this heavily ported game to my list of essential iOS titles is, first of all, it’s possibly the best example of the puzzle/platformer genre ever and, secondly, I’m still regularly drawn back to the iPad version despite having already played Toki Tori to death on other devices.

The individual elements of the game: maze type platform levels, flightless bird protagonist, items to collect in order to complete level, limited tools, hazards … so far, so generic. However (and it’s a pretty big ‘however’, so please pay attention) the way that the elements are combined, the sheer brilliance of the puzzle design and the attention paid to testing but not frustrating the player, results in a truly wonderful gaming experience.

The graphics are very nice, as you can see. Animations are also very good and all the important items stand out against the backgrounds, despite the overall prettiness of everything. In the screen above, see that little yellow “rewind” icon? That does exactly what it sounds like – it rewinds whatever you have done in small increments. Say you’re in the middle of a large, complicated level and you make a mistake, there’s no need to swear and throw things (although that’s always fun), you just tap the rewind button until you get back to a point before you messed up, tap the green tick icon to confirm that’s where you want to go back to, and carry on. This facility can be used as much as you like with no penalty.

As well as the regular introduction of new puzzle elements and hazards, Toki Tori has navigational tools and weapons that are limited in availability in each level, with different types appearing as you progress through the game. What really stands out for me is the way the game will do something devious, like giving you the ability to move impassable blocks from in front of Toki Tori to behind him, then immediately put you in a level where blithely racing around doing just that will cause blocks to fall deeper into the level, completely blocking you later on. Thanks to the rewind button, this sort of practical joke is amusing rather than infuriating. “Oh, nice one,” you think to yourself, prodding the rewind until just before you happily walked right into their cunning little trap.

There are plenty of levels. Once you beat all the normal levels in one of the four worlds, you can take on the hard levels of that world. There are also several bonus levels (again, in each world) that become available when a specific number of normal levels have been beaten. The worlds are Forest Falls,  Creepy Castle, Slimy Sewer and Bubble Barrage.

One last thing I have to mention, something that the game doesn’t have but which I see as a huge plus – there’s no timer on the levels. Trust me, they get hard soon enough and a time limit would really spoil the fun!

If you have never played this game before, on any platform, or you just want to find out how it translates to touch screen devices, there’s an iPhone/iPod lite version and also an iPad HD lite version available.


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