Puzzlers generally come in a couple of forms.
At one end of the spectrum, there are the fast-paced, you-against-the-clock ones. At the other, there are the slower, more thoughtful, logic-heavy puzzlers, with the emphasis on spatial awareness.
Toki Tori falls firmly into the latter camp, though it sadly fails to carve out its own space in the congested puzzling universe, despite possessing a somewhat charming, colourful and, happy-go-lucky attitude.
Playing as a small round chick, you have to navigate bright, spacious levels in an effort to collect the lost eggs scattered throughout.
Toki Tori isn’t a natural heroine, mind. This chick can’t fly, run, or even jump (beyond a small hop up and down tiny ledges).
Luckily for her, she does get a small collection of items to help in her cause, such as bridge pieces, a limited teleportation ability, and special weapons to tackle the game’s monsters.
Most levels revolve around how to best utilise the small number of tools you have at your disposal. The idea is that her restricted movement and limited arsenal force you to think carefully about what to do next to avoid making a mistake.Cooped up
Not that these mistakes are particularly punishing. For one thing, there's the option to immediately rewind time: all the way back to the beginning of the level, if you so wish.
Games with a similar reverse time option have always used a ‘hold to rewind, release to resume’ mechanism. In Toki Tori, however, you have to rewind with the L trigger, then press a 'resume' key on the touchscreen once you find the exact moment you’re looking for. This slows things down slightly, and, along with some other niggles in the game’s design, can become irritating.
For instance, you can change the direction your character faces by tilting the phone either way. But because of the way you hold the Xperia Play, your hand movement will often cause her to turn around pointlessly whenever you press on the touchscreen to use an item.
On several occasions, I tried to place a bridge down and ended up facing the other way instead. It’s a pedantic complaint, yes, but it piles up on top of all the others.
Overall, Toki Tori is a standard puzzler, which can prove very challenging at times. Unfortunately, its minor faults soon stack up, leaving it as just another average addition to the already crowded genre.