Cubed3 Nintendo gaming, Wii and DS

Toki Tori (Game Boy Color) Review

Review for Toki Tori on Game Boy Color - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Here is a game that sort of took everyone by surprise when it saw release on WiiWare a few years back, being even a launch title for the service in Europe. Cubed3 remembers it fondly for being one of the most charming games available on Wii at the time. However, the gaming audience was perhaps unaware that Toki Tori was actually a much older title, tracing its first release back to the Game Boy Color, very late into the life of the system, at a time when the Game Boy Advance had already been available around the world for quite a few months. Perhaps this was the reason why, at that time, it didn't get quite the level of fandom that the little chick is enjoying nowadays, being currently available on a wide array of services and machines, including the Wii, PC and Smartphones. Finally, the original title, on which every current version is based, is given a new chance to shine on the 3DS Virtual Console service and Cubed3 seizes the occasion to take a good look at how the concept was already shaping up, back in 2001.

As soon as the game boots up, the game will appear much more text heavy than its successor to those who played the latter. Toki Tori, as a game, tells the story of a recently hatched little chick by the same name, who must retrieve its brethren, still trapped in eggs, mysteriously scattered all over a series of different environments. To do so, he will have to travel through loads of stages to collect every single egg in each before he can move on to the next one. As he progresses from one environment to the other, more of the mystery behind the disappearance of the other eggs unfolds.

Toki Tori on Game Boy Color presents what seems to be the exact same set of levels that is to be found in the modern versions of the same game, albeit in a slightly different order. What this means is that fans that discovered the game with the WiiWare, or any of the other versions that have been released since 2008, might find that there's no new challenges to be found for them in the original.

Contrary to the modern versions, some basic actions have to be performed manually here, such as hopping on stairs -- there's a jump button here -- and dashing, which is performed by tapping twice and holding down a direction on the D-Pad.

The rest, players will find, is strictly identical. Toki Tori can still move up ladders and jump down ledges using the D-Pad alone, scroll through different powers and objects he has in his position with the Select button, and finally use the one selected with the B button.

Indeed, he can use these special actions to help him through the stages, which come in limited quantity in the wide majority of cases, in a fashion much similar to the legendary Lemmings. Identically, Toki Tori has almost always just enough of those to allow him to overcome every obstacle in each stage. There are a handful of different ones, like teleporting two squares away from the current position, using an ice-shooting bazooka that freezes foes, building bridges across gaps or placing crates to use them as platforms.

Screenshot for Toki Tori on Game Boy Color - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Using them in the right order, at the right location and at the right time will clear a path to each egg, leading to the final one that, upon collecting it, will make that stage complete. Also, typically, there's only one way, only one solution to the big puzzle that each stage makes up. This is increasingly true as the game progresses and presents players with harder and harder levels.

This is where the core of the concept behind Toki Tori lies. It is indeed a very challenging game because of how hard the puzzles quickly become. Once past the first few levels that help familiarise players with the controls and how to use the powers and items, the difficulty immediately picks up, forcing them to spend a lot of time trying out different approaches to each level until finally finding the one that works. There will most likely be quite a lot of failures, but when finally succeeding it is the most satisfying moment, reminiscing on all the previous failed attempts. Each environment holds ten regular stages, which can already be quite tricky in themselves. However, once these are cleared, there is the challenge of five more "hard" stages, which are even more challenging, totalling sixty levels overall.

This original version of Toki Tori is different from the remake in that it uses a timer in each stage. Indeed, "Toki" in Japanese means "time" (while "Tori" means bird), which is where the game got its name from, even though there's no time limit in recent versions.

This makes it all the more challenging. In certain recent versions, there was also the possibility to rewind the action so that the whole level doesn't need to be started all over again should you realise that a mistake has been made somewhere along the way. This was not in the WiiWare version and isn't in this Game Boy Color iteration either, making the latter easily the most challenging of the bunch, although save states in this 3DS Virtual Console release help make things a bit easier, since personalised check points can be made as you progress through each stage, to which you can go back to instead of restarting the whole level.

As a game released at the tail end of the system's life, it is quite an impressive visual effort. Every moving object on the screen, including the iconic character, has a lot of animation frames, and the scenery is quite colourful. Screenshots cannot do any justice to some of the transparency effects that are used in early stages to represent waterfalls, as well as the parallax scrolling going on in the backgrounds, some of which are even animated separately from what's happening in the foreground. Such a level of detail and impressive effects are quite unexpected from a game in this genre, and this comes across as an excellent surprise.

Screenshot for Toki Tori on Game Boy Color - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review


Though not exactly as responsive, fluid or straightforward as the WiiWare version due to the more limited control options of the Game Boy Color, Toki Tori still controls without any trouble, although it will definitely require a slight bit of getting used to for hardcore fans of the modern editions.


Very impressive for a Game Boy Color game; highly colourful, well animated and uses parallax scrolling that wasn't the norm on the diminutive handheld.


Some catchy tunes in there and the sound effects are very minimal. However, Cubed3 thought that the soundtrack of the remake by SonicPicnic gave a far better charm to the overall game. With that said, the original music here was quite enjoyable in its own right.


For those who know the solutions to all the puzzles from the remake, the Game Boy Color version will be like a walk in the park. However, the sixty levels of puzzle action will definitely last quite a while for the newcomers, as the challenge level quickly picks up.

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

About this score
Rated 9 out of 10

Toki Tori was an excellent late Game Boy Color title, perfectly suited for portable gaming. Making impressive and educated use of the console's graphical abilities, the game looks delightfully colourful -- more so than the vast majority of the console's library -- and turns out perfectly animated. Beyond the graphical prowess, while the gameplay is nothing to write home about, the inventiveness of the different levels will both make you pull your hair out due to the high level of challenge, but growl with pleasure when you finally manage to get the solution to a particularly hard level, which feels highly rewarding. This 3DS Virtual Console re-release actually makes the game a little bit easier to approach. What remains is to choose whether this particular release of the game is the best suited for you, a choice that should be made based on which control scheme is preferred -- Smartphone versions are only touch based when clearly buttons make for a better input -- whether a more visually polished experience is wanted, and whether having it portable or not is better. This is down to personal preferences. On a final note, this Game Boy Color game is simply one of the best puzzlers ever made for the system, and the 3DS re-release makes it the best handheld version of the title currently available on Nintendo systems.

Read and post comments

 Buy Toki Tori (Game Boy Color) Buy Toki Tori (Game Boy Color)

Buy Toki Tori on AmazonBuy Toki Tori on Shop To Buy Toki Tori on GameBuy Toki Tori on TescoBuy Toki Tori on The Hut

Share this Review Share this Review




Games you may also like...


Two Tribes







C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Who owns this game?

I own this game View All

Who wants this game?

No members want this game yet - be the first to add to your wishlist!
I want this game View All

Reader comments - add yours today Comments on this Review

There are no replies to this review yet. Why not be the first?
wolfy (guest) 20.08.2012 17:54#1

Wow, this game is actually, THAT OLD. that's amazing a lot of franchises these days, looks like they were JUST made.

For an example, I never knew the prince of persia was on the NES.

Is that a good thing or a bad thing, that a lot of current games, looks like they were barely made?

Can't wait for the game to be released for the US eshop!

Comment on this review

You can comment as a guest or join the Cubed3 community below: Sign Up for Free Account Login

Preview PostPreview Post Your Name:
Validate your comment
  Enter the letters in the image to validate your comment.
Submit Post

Subscribe to this topic Subscribe to this topic

If you are a registered member and logged in, you can also subscribe to topics by email.

Follow this topic Follow this topic

Keep up with new comments with the RSS feed for this topic, or subscribe via email above.
Turqoise Radio - Cubed3's Glass to the Wall
Sign up today for blogs, games collections, reader reviews and much more
Latest news and updatesSite Feed
Vote on our latest community pollNintendo Poll
Vote: Which eShop Games will you Download this Week?
Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse
Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two
Disney Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion
Etrian Odyssey Untold: The Millennium Girl Demo
F-Zero: Maximum Velocity
Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams
Golden Sun
I am in the Movie
Mario Golf: World Tour Demo
My Exotic Farm
My Farm
Nintendo Pocket Football Club
Putty Squad
Tiny Games - Knights & Dragons
Member of the weekMember of the Week
This week's top member is jres80, awarded the most stars for great posts.
Online Play and ChatOnline Nintendo Play & Chat
General Chatroom: Click here to chat Wii U Nintendo Network Codes - Find other Nintendo Wii U users 3DS Nintendo Network Codes - Find other Nintendo 3DS users
Listen to our Nintendo Jukebox - Classic Mario, Zelda, Metroid songs and more Nintendo news and reviews on the move