1989 Arcade Classic Toki Returns With Love & Dedication to Nintendo Switch

TJ Denzer,

December 4, 2018 9:50 PM

Developer Microids has reached into the wayback machine to bring new life to an arcade classic. Toki has recently released on Switch and it's a remake made with clear faith to the source material.

Back in 1989, a curious little run n’ gun made the scene. Among the bullet hell shooters of the time, Toki was a quirky title in which a witch doctor steals a princess and turns the titular caveman Toki into an Ape. It was different enough to gain itself a fan following and remain present in the minds of players even nearly 30 years later. Now, French developer Microïds is bringing it back for the Nintendo Switch, and they’re not just throwing an old game on new consoles. They’ve given the game a fresh coat of paint to go with a strong attention to the original game’s controls and mechanics.

Released worldwide on December 4, 2018 on the Nintendo Switch eShop and in physical copies at various retailers, Toki for the Switch is an adventure brimming with luscious new art and re-imagined music, but with the same great feel of the old games. The original game was known for being a bit more slow and deliberate and the remade Toki keeps that sense of pace as you run and gun through platforms, enemy apes, bewitched monsters, and everything else that sits between Toki and his princess. You can see the launch trailer for the new edition below.

One thing that is rather interesting is the dedication of Microïds to keeping their remade Toki as close to arcade faithful as possible. Toki’s remake is being handled by a number of people who, at Ocean Software back in the day, had a hand in its recreation for Amiga, Atari ST and Commodore 64. Among that staff are Lead Artist Philippe Dessoly and lead developer Pierre Adane. In an interview with WWG, Dessoly and Pierre shared experience with recreating the experience, taking note of the attention to detail they’d done in the past.

“We were lucky enough to have the arcade cabinet at the Ocean Software office,” recalled Adane. “And we were playing the game every chance we had during the development of the 16-bit versions.”

“Back in 1989,” explained Dessoly. “We had to work pixel by pixel. With this generation of consoles, I thought the hand drawn look was an absolute necessity. Of course, as you can imagine, it takes way longer than the version done with pixels.”

Matching the old style is one thing, but Microids has gone out of their way to give the outlandish silliness of Toki a fresh sheen with its newly painted characters and envronments.
Matching the old style is one thing, but Microids has gone out of their way to give the outlandish silliness of Toki a fresh sheen with its newly painted characters and envronments.

Despite the time it’s taken, the work has seemed to pay off. The result is a Toki that gives the original artistic quirk a beautiful new coat of visuals and plays nearly identical to its 1989 counterpart.

Will a new Toki on the Nintendo Switch invite new efforts to challenge the game and set new records? We should hope so, but regardless, classic gamers with a love for the old-school charm of this prehistoric run n’ gunner owe it to themselves to dive in and rediscover their love for Toki.

You can follow the latest on Toki and other Microïds projects via their Facebook and Twitter.



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