Review by Jono

"A fantastic Puzzle game! The most addictive Save-'em-up since Lemmings!"

Toki Tori Review

Before I start let me say I don't like giving ten out of ten's. It is very rare that I play a game that I feel deserves ten out of ten. I will award nine's and eight's to games I feel are really good but hardly ever ten's. There is usually something in a game that prevents it from getting a straight ten. This game however is an exception. Let me explain why.

Introduction

Toki Tori is a little chicken. All his brother and sister eggs have been stolen! As he came out of his egg he was just in time to see all the eggs blown away and into a castle. The eggs then all blew out of the castle and were scattered across the land. Toki Tori has to make his way through four worlds rescuing all the eggs as well as facing off against the many monsters that stand in his way. But he is not alone! Throughout the game you will be able to learn new skills, ten in all. These skills will help you overcome the many dangers that Toki Tori awaits.

On the face of it this may sound like a kids game but I can tell you now it isn't. Behind that slightly strange storyline lies the best puzzle game I've ever played. Toki Tori is a save-'em-up similar to the classic Lemmings. You have to make your way around each level rescuing all the eggs in that level. To help you, you have skills such as bridge builder, telewarp and my personal favourite freeze-o-matic. Each level is packed full of brain teasing puzzled, Red Herrings and lots more.

Presentation 10/10

Lovingly drawn introduction sequences, fantastic graphics and sound and a battery save, need I say more?

Graphics 10/10

Not usually a strong point for puzzle games but graphically Toki Tori excels. The game doesn't at all look out of place on a GBA. Toki Tori himself animates fluently and he looks and feels very authentic. Each of the four worlds has their own unique look. For example the castle feels like one big castle, with towers, battlements and more. There are also some really nice graphical effects, the waterfall in the first world looks fantastic. Each of the bad guys also has their own distinctive look and it really adds to the feel of the game. Each item has their own distinctive graphical effect for example I love seeing the bad guys being frozen by the freeze-o-matic. For a gameboy colour game the visuals are stunning and its not often I can say that about a GBC game.

Sound 10/10

Toki Tori even get the sound right with some of the best tunes I've heard coming out of the gameboy speaker. The music is quite atmospheric and the creepy castle music is particularly good.

Gameplay 10/10

The graphics were good but its gameplay where Toki Tori really excels. As you already know Toki Tori is a save-'em-up. The game is actually quite similar to Lemmings except with direct control over a single character. The basic premise is to collect all the eggs within a level. You have ten different skills but you don't get them all at once. Instead the game has an intelligent learning curve where it introduces the new skills to you one at a time. Each new skill even has a training level where you can practice with in before carrying on with the main game. The range of skills is excellent as well, these haven't been ripped off from Lemmings but have had alot of thought put into making them totally original. You only have up to five skills in each level and I think this is a good idea as it prevents the game from becoming to complicated. Of the skills the first one you use and the most basic one are the eyes, these simply allow you to look around a level, very useful as although the levels only start off one screen one or two screens long as you progress into the game they will become alot longer. You have the bridge builder, sounds simple but this is a vital tool throughout the game. You also have a teleport, which allows you to teleport a short way in any direction. Toki Tori also gets the ability to defend himself with both the freeze-o-matic and the snail sucker coming into play later on in the game.

So how does the game play? Quite simply brilliant. Each level is full of tricks and traps. Use one of your abilities in the wrong place and you can end up having to start the level again. At the same time, when rescuing the eggs if you go for them in the wrong order you will most likely have to start again. There is a time limit which can be loose or tight depending on the level, its useful to have as it keeps you moving and makes sure you never spend too long on a level. Each level is incredibly well designed with lots of potential red herrings and potential pitfalls. The game centres around forward planning and use of resources however reflexes do have a place in the game, especially on the later levels. Still the game never becomes frustrating, no level is too long that you think you can't be bothered to do it again. You always want to have another go. Even when your not playing the game you can often find yourself thinking about the solution to the level your playing on. This is what makes Toki Tori so brilliant its just so addictive, infact I haven't played a more addictive game since Tetris and that is a long time ago. Due to the games size you can play for months without ever getting bored and that for a gameboy game that is excellent.

Whats really great is the game comes with batterybackup so not only is your position saved but the amount of time it took to do each level and how many eggs you've collected.

Lastability 10/10

This game is huge! There are four worlds each with ten normal levels and an extra five hard levels. That is a total of sixty levels and since this is a game you will not be blowing through with ease, there is tons of lastability there. I've had the game for around five months and I still haven't completed it. I'm close but not there yet, now thats what I call lastability. I'm yet to play a gameboy game with that kind of lastability, you could say Advance Wars has, but I got bored of Advance Wars after three months, I'm still playing Toki Tori after five months. Still due to the size of the levels and the time limit this is also a very good pick up and play game, you can have the odd five minutes here or there and get closer to solving the level. Many of the levels will need several goes, especially later on in the game, some levels took me over fifty goes to achieve, yet I never got bored and I never got frustrated and that is testament to how good this game really is.

Conclusion

I think I've made it pretty clear, whether you own a GBC or a GBA this is a fantastic addition to any collection, don't let the cuteness put you off this is one hell of a game. If you see it buy it. I don't see this around often due to the fact that it was a GBC when the GBA had already been out for a good few months, I expect the production run was limited, so if you see it buy it.


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 11/10/02, Updated 11/10/02


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