Chickens are the most undervalued creatures in the world. Think about it; Chicken Little is the biggest chick-celebrity – a paranoid little bird. Even the earthworm, a creature much lower down on the evolutionary scale then the chicken, received his own video game series. This is terrible, especially for a creature who so selflessly supports our society. Two Tribes and Chillingo are working to restore some reverence to the chicken with Toki Tori for the iPod Touch and iPhone. Make yourself an omelet and reflect on the glory that is the chicken.
Toki Tori’s eggs have been stolen, and you have to get them back. To do this, you must navigate levels that require puzzle solving talents. Most levels revolve around the order in which players move to certain areas, but some include roving dangers. Spiky hedgehogs roam some levels, and just a nose on encounter with them results in instance death. Fortunately, you’ve got more than feathers to deal with these enemies. Progression unlocks skills and items that help you finish levels. These range from bridge building kits that Toki Tori can use to cross gaps, to an ice ray to freeze nasty hedgehogs, and even a teleportation system. Each item has a limited use in any given stage, so they introduce more planning and critical thinking to the game. Like James Bond, you’ll end up using all your tools to complete each level. There are four stages with multiple levels contained within, so there’s a whole lot replay value here.
Graphically the game is slick, with colorful backgrounds and fluid character animations. Each level is filled with lifelike green grass, brown earth, and flowing water. It’s not the broadest of palettes, but it looks so nice you won’t mind. Toki’s bright yellow plumage stands out well in the levels, along with other small touches such as flowers and fluttering butterflies. Teleportations are particularly impressive, creating a bright burst of yellow light. Frozen enemes even wiggle inside chunks of ice after being hit with the ice beam. The game is beautiful.
Toki Tori’s controls can be tricky, especially if you’re not used to iPod games, but you quickly get into the swing of it. It’s all touch sensitive (of course). To move Toki, press on a certain part of the map and he’ll make his way there without any further input. However, many of the stages require more precision than that, requiring you to drag your finger over to the precise spot you want Toki to stop. A circle of arrows that tells you where the chicken will go which helps. Also, if you need to turn the chicken around, a yellow circle will surround him, and you just move your finger in the indicated direction. This may sound a little complicated, but you adapt to it easily.
Levels get more difficult as you go along, which keeps the game from becoming tedious. The altering level design plus the changing of item quantity that you get from level to level means that you will have to change your thinking constantly to progress. Toki Tori is a thinking game, since you can both run out of item uses and get completely stuck. The game does provide a wildcard, which advances you to the next level, but you can’t get another one until you complete the level you skipped. The game just works – I played until my iPod told me that my batteries were running low.
Decent sound effects and an upbeat song round out Toki Tori’s audio, but the music becomes grating after a while. That’s true of a lot of games, though, and the levels are meant to be finished quickly. If you end up stuck, you probably won’t be focused on the music quality. Toki Tori is fun and well designed puzzle title that any iPod Touch / iPhone owner with a penchant for mental stimulation should check out.