Back in the late ’80s, video games were making a comeback after the market crash of ‘83, partly due to the proliferation of many low-quality (and expensive) games for the dominant consoles at the time. It was thanks to certain iconic titles such as Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat that video games bounced back, bigger and better than ever. Not only did these new games pave the way for a new home console market, but they also brought about a wide variety of new franchises and genres to the arcades, where millions of people around the world frantically spent their quarters for an attempt at the latest games and tech available.
Nevertheless, despite the popularity of certain franchises, there were other high-quality games that didn’t quite make it to the same levels of notoriety as their most famous counterparts. This didn’t speak much about the quality of these games, rather than about their timing and marketing. However, some of these titles became cult classics that, even today, are still played by many gamers around the world.
Toki is one of those franchises.
Developed in 1989 by TAD Corporation and published by List, Toki was a very popular, if conservative run n’ gun title that featured awesome platforming and great shooting mechanics that were similar to today’s Megaman games. The game was divided into several levels of increasing difficulty, at the end of which the player had to defeat a boss before pressing on. Along the way, the player could pick up power-ups that increased the player’s default spit attack, improved their mobility, and granted them extra lives, among others.
The story of the game, like those of many other titles at the time, was very basic and served merely to give context to the player’s actions. Toki, a caveman that bore an uncanny resemblance to Tarzan, was relaxing in his jungle when, suddenly, the evil shaman Vookimedio swooped by and kidnapped Miho, our protagonist’s love interest and princess of his tribe. The evil wizard had taken the princess to his golden palace in the highest peak of the island, and then cast a spell to transform Toki’s tribe into different animals. Toki himself was transformed into an ape. However, unlike his kinsmen, Toki was still aware and in control of his actions, also discovering that this new form allowed him to unleash a variety of projectile attacks from his mouth.
Toki sets out the rescue the princess, and reverse the curse that Vookimedio set upon the island…
Despite not achieving the levels of popularity that other franchises attained, Toki still remains a cult classic to this day, which is more than reason enough for Microïds, a French developer studio, to dig deep down and bring the game back. This time around, however, Toki is looking better than ever on the Nintendo Switch as the game wasn’t only ported to the console but also given a complete remake, coupled with a brand new “coat of paint,” so to speak.
The Toki remake released this past December 4, 2018, on the Nintendo eShop, though gamers can also pick up a physical copy, as well as a “Retrollector Edition,” which includes a wide variety of goodies along with the game itself, from several retailers. An excerpt from the game’s eShop page describes it in the following manner:
“Toki sets off on a new adventure! The cult action/platform game originally released on arcade machines in 1989 is back with a super-simian new version, featuring all-new hand-drawn graphics and re-orchestrated music!
“The game has been entirely redrawn by hand by Philippe Dessoly, illustrator of well-known manga cartoons, such as Captain Harlock and UFO Robot Grendizer, comics and video games. He also worked on the Amiga version of Toki back in 1991 and the game Mr. Nutz in 1992. His drawings have further improved Toki’s apish good looks.
“The music has been fully re-orchestrated by composer Raphaël Gesqua, providing a retro and modern soundtrack for Toki’s adventure. This award-winning composer has created the music for more than one hundred video games.
“On the technical side, developer Pierre Adane has worked tirelessly to bring this thrilling experience to life. He also worked on Mr. Nutz (1992) and created the tennis game Top Spin (2003).”
In this sense, we can see that not only is the game completely remade in a manner faithful to the original, but the people responsible for the original Toki adaptations for the Amiga, Atari ST, and Commodore 64, among others, also had a hand in this project. This only adds to the quality that you can expect to receive from this game. Furthermore, at the time of writing, the game is currently at discount on the eShop, and is sold for $24.99 (originally $29.99); if that’s not good bang for your buck, then we don’t know what is!
Have you already tried the new Toki game? Do you plan on picking up a copy? Let us know your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below!
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