Toki (Review) Nintendo Switch

Toki (Review) Nintendo Switch
Review Score:

Originally developed by TAD Corporation, Toki is a 2D platformer shmup that first appeared in arcades back in 1989. The game stars Toki, a muscular, loincloth-wearing caveman turned ape after his potential bride, Princess Miho, is captured by the evil witch doctor, Vookimedlo. Unique for its time, Toki combines the game mechanics from both the platformer and shooter genres to produce what is now considered, one of the most memorable experiences in classic gaming.

Toki for Nintendo Switch is a remaster of the original arcade game with vastly improved 2D graphics. The game mechanics – which has Toki ‘spitting’ projectiles, jumping onto platforms and climbing vines – have remained virtually the same from their coin-op counterpart. This also includes the one-hit death mechanic that made the original game so difficult to play. 

Gameplay involves jumping onto platforms, collecting power-ups, and fighting the Bosses who inhabit the end of every level. As the game progresses, the player’s ability to memorize patterns is put to the test, as armored beetles, dodo birds and zombified gorillas (to name just a few) seem to jump out of nowhere before unleashing their attacks.

This doesn’t include the fish-like statue heads that are conveniently placed underneath platforms. These ‘statues’ become ‘instant’ projectiles the moment they detect the player. Avoiding these projectiles is as simple as remembering their placement in each level. The same can be said about the game’s many enemies — once the player becomes familiar with their patterns, avoiding some of the nastier enemies becomes a lot easier.

Moreover, the player must survive each level before the timer – which is located at the top of the screen – reaches zero. If the timer expires, the player will either lose a life or have to start the level over (this depends on how many continues/lives remain. If the player has to ‘continue’, they are sent back to the beginning of the level to start over.) Luckily, there are power-ups available to help Toko deal with the obstacles he encounters. For example: the player can pick up ‘clocks’ to extend the in-game timer; rabbit feet to increase Toki’s speed; and a helmet that can take one additional hit from enemies. In addition, there are weapon upgrades that will give Toki larger ‘spit’ balls; a 3-way spread shot; and the ability to breathe fire. While short on features, the player can earn extra lives, collect gold coins and find keys to unlock secret areas. There’s also an online leaderboard for competitive play.

Graphically, Toki is a gorgeous-looking game awashed in vibrant, eye-popping colors. The sprites – just like the backgrounds – have been redrawn, and the animations for Toki and his enemies are brilliantly done. Toki’s ‘spit’ balls pulsate when fired, and the flame breathe attack – when the power-up is attained – looks surprisingly satisfying. The graphical presentation looks sharp and welcoming no matter how the game is played (i.e. docked or in portable mode).

Toki for Nintendo Switch is one of those hidden gems that can be easily overlooked when browsing through the many games on Nintendo’s eShop. Fans of classic arcade games (and 2D platformers for that matter) would be doing themselves a disservice if they didn’t experience this iconic, 2D platformer shmup. (Especially for its wildly imaginative cast of characters and its late 1980s, harder-than-nails gameplay.)

Mike Pittaro
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Developer: Maximum Family Games
Publisher: Maximum Family Games
ESRB: E 10+ (Everyone 10+)
Price: $49.99

Toki Official Website:

Review Score
Breathtaking 2D graphics and animation..
The action is complimented by a memorable soundtrack.
Finger-biting difficulty that is based on trial and error.
Fans of classic arcade games would be doing themselves a disservice if they didn’t experience this iconic, 2D platformer shmup.
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