Preview: Toki Tori 2 (Nintendo Wii U)

Hands-on with the next eShop masterpiece

In the lead up to the release of Dutch developer Two Tribes’ Wii U eShop game Toki Tori 2, Aussie-Gamer has been granted a special preview of the game.

During our time with the game we put the platforming and puzzle dynamics to the test, toyed with the much discussed ‘knowledge unlocks’ and, quite frankly, thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

Toki Tori 2 is coming together nicely, and although the build we played isn’t one hundred percent indicative of the upcoming Wii U version, it’s positioned to be one of the finest games available on the eShop.

For those unaware, the game is the sequel to Two Tribes’ first Nintendo GameBoy Colour title, Toki Tori and comes over a decade after the original. Unlike in its predecessor, Toki has access to two primary abilities, stomp and whistle. Both are used to influence the world around Toki to progress, rather than influencing. If this sounds confusing, I assure you all will become clear soon.

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The game makes use of the unique GamePad controller and its onboard touchscreen by displaying important information to the player at any time during gameplay such as, displaying songs collected, Tokidex entries and pins of interest the player has marked on the game map.

The first thing you’ll notice when loading up Toki Tori 2 is how strikingly beautiful the game looks, even in this early build. The game world is lush, eye-popping and thanks to some finely tuned animation is positively brimming with life. Two Tribes clearly have an eye for detail, something that shines through here in spades.

From the creatures you’ll encounter, to the feel of the environments around you and even Toki himself, the game world feels truly alive. Everything, including Toki himself, reacts to what’s happening in the game world. From being in the dark, to Toki’s stoping ability, there is never an action without a reaction. While nothing more than a subtle detail, it really pushes the immersion of the player and sees you truly feel connected with this amazing world.

While I feel it’s not going to be an issue for the final Wii U version, the build I played suffered from a consistently laggy frame-rate. This was an issue Two Tribes mentioned prior to going hands-on and one that they advise won’t at all be present when the Wii U version ships. I certainly hope not considering at various points the relatively high-end PC I was using struggled to run the game at an expectable rate, almost making the game entirely unplayable.

Unlike traditional puzzle based games where the player unlocks new abilities and items as they progress, Toki Tori 2 toys with the concept of ‘knowledge unlocks’. You’ve no doubt heard about the concept, and unless you actually experience it first-hand it can be a little hard to get your head around.

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By and large the theory behind ‘Knowledge Unlocks’ is about learning how to use your environment and the creatures found within them to progress further. In a much similar way, and one that I understand it, you essentially have access to everything you need from the very beginning. It’s merely up to how much time/thought you’re willing to put in.

For example, there’s a very good chance the first area I started off in during my preview session will be the first one players will be dropped into when the final version is released. Without giving off too much, it’s very possible to move to the left of the screen despite the game encouraging you to move to the right.

Getting yourself over to the left side of the screen is impossible, unless you know how to use the immediate world around you. Of course, moving to the right and after having played a few levels you’ll easily be able to figure it out, but if you stay and put time and effort into teaching yourself… well.

Of course you don’t need to do this, Toki Tori 2 in time will impart the knowledge needed to overcome the various puzzles you’ll encounter, meaning the game still progresses along a rather linear path. By accessing the overworld map you can revisit earlier stages and use your new knowledge to reach new areas, or discover missed secrets.

Aside from the usual fair of puzzle solving, and moving from stage to stage, Toki Tori 2 is filled with collectibles to find and in some cases, snap pictures of. Each level is littered with tiny Jigsaw pieces that are automatically picked up by getting close to them. The purpose behind these puzzle pieces is unknown, though by visiting the four various ‘drop-off’ locations found hidden in the game world and depositing the pieces something special will happen.

The other collectible I came across was considerably less common; songs. Songs in Toki Tori 2 are essentially special powers that provide useful twists in gameplay, and can be activated by using Toki’s whistle ability in a particular way – think the Ocarina from The Legend of Zelda. The two featured in the preview made it possible to be taken back to the previous checkpoint, useful if you get stuck, as well as be taken back to the overworld map.

In the final Wii U version you’ll easily be able to access and view all your collected songs on the GamePad. Not only that, the GamePad will be used not unlike a view finder to snap pictures of the various creatures found in Toki Tori 2, and stored in the TokiDex.

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Although we didn’t play Toki Tori 2 on the Wii U console itself, we’ve got a pretty good handle on what this game is all about. With a solid foundation in place all that’s needed is the GamePad centric features and the added hardware grunt of the system working behind it and Toki Tori 2 is set to be a downright brilliant addition to the eShop roster.

Authors note: Please note that our preview of Toki Tori 2 for Wii U was performed using a custom build on PC, due to the eShop’s inability to host game preview code. Although the build is modeled on the Wii U version, we were unable to try out GamePad centric features, thus we do not assume to know how this affects gameplay.

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