Don't judge a book by its cover. Or in this case, a game by its graphics.
When Toki Tori was released for the Gameboy Color many moons ago, it didn't receive much attention from gamers. Presumably when developer Two Tribes heard of Nintendo's plans for WiiWare, they saw a perfect outlet for a re-release and re-envisioning of their cute little yellow bird and his puzzle game.
Toki Tori is a fairly straightforward puzzle title in which the player must collect a specified number of eggs in order to clear the level. Players are typically given a number of tools for a specified number of uses at the beginning of each level, and are forced to use them in the perfect situation in order to reach all of the eggs. One misstep or misuse of a tool renders the puzzle unsolvable.
Typically about half of the levels in each world can be solved on the first or second try. By the last few levels, you will find often yourself retrying and reformulating strategy. Since certain tools (such as the bridge maker) actually change a level's composition, your plans can often go awry due to some overlooked detail. The true challenge of the game exists in these scenarios, forcing you to think ten steps ahead at all times. If you do get stuck you're provided one "wild card" that allows you to skip any level. If you want the pass back, you must beat the level you used it on.
Despite Toki Tori's simple elements, the game proves quite adept at providing a challenging and thoughtful set of puzzles. Each of the four worlds offers a collection of ten levels, as well as a new landscape and sprite overhaul. Upon completion of the ten levels in a world, a number of "hard" levels are unlocked.
The game controls well, offering players two options. Using the Wii Remote's pointer (my preferred scheme), players are able to point to a desired location and the computer will choose a path for Toki Tori to follow in order to get there. In some instances, the best (i.e. shortest) path is not always desired as it takes Toki Tori right into an enemy. I lost some stages because I had traced the pointer along the path I thought Toki Tori would use, only to watch him take a different route I hadn't predicted. The other control method - full control with the Nunchuk's control stick - eliminates this issue, but it feels slower than the automatic method.
Graphically, Toki Tori leaves something to be desired. On one hand it has a certain charm, but on the other hand it looks like a cell phone game. The musical tracks fall into the same category; each world has an engaging score, but they repeat often (especially after playing sixteen levels in each world).
Being a puzzle game, Toki Tori's length is somewhat debatable. Completing the game at 100% took me about six hours, though this length will vary from person to person based on their puzzle-solving skills. Regardless of length, the game provides for a satisfying experience while it lasts, with puzzles neither seeming too hard or too easy. Fans of puzzle games in general, and particularly those in the vein of Capcom's Zack & Wiki, won't regret picking this one up.