Toem begins when your nana items you a digital camera as you head off to see the “Toem” phenomenon. She almost reveals you her personal photograph from when she did the identical factor at your age, however swiftly hides it. Seeing the Toem phenomenon is offered as a ceremony of passage, and one thing you actually simply must expertise for your self. She by no means describes precisely what Toem is, simply that it is spectacular and life-changing. However perhaps what she’s actually remembering is the journey to see it.
Most of Toem is basically a collection of photograph puzzles. Whenever you first journey away from house, you study which you could accumulate stamps in your group card by performing acts of kindness for townspeople (which just about at all times contain a digital camera, in some way) or fulfilling photograph challenges. You could be requested to discover a cartoonishly shady character hanging round city, or to level a lighthouse keeper within the course of boats that need assistance utilizing your zoom lens. Gathering sufficient stamps will get you a free bus cross to the subsequent space. It is a easy, intelligent assemble that creates a broad area for various kinds of puzzle challenges.
All of that is offered in a stark black-and-white type that feels boldly minimalist. The view is isometric in a means that usually limits your capacity to see your whole environment, so you may look from behind the digital camera lens to get a greater view of issues. The interaction between these views is fixed, and regardless of a sparse visible type and monochrome presentation, it by no means feels complicated. All the things is completely readable in each views, which is a testomony to the energy of the artwork design.
With an idea like this it will be simple for puzzles to develop into over-reliant on pressured perspective, making two items of the background be part of collectively ultimately to make them seem like one object. That is not the case. That is before everything a comfy recreation, so the challenges are by no means outrageously difficult. Normally they’re extra like visible riddles requiring you to suss out what an individual means by their request and the way the encompassing setting will help you discover it for them.
Sometimes, although, a puzzle will probably be obscure or poorly defined. The worst is if you’re sure you understand what the reply is, however not the best way to full it in the way in which the sport needs. Typically a chunk of dialogue explaining the puzzle, which can have given a clue, can’t be repeated and is not marked the identical means in your logbook. And whereas Toem could be very open-ended–you can just about accumulate the all-important stamps in no matter order you wish–there are occasional instances when one process is clearly performing as a gatekeeper for others. Getting caught on one in every of these, nonetheless quickly, will be irritating.
Whenever you first arrive in a brand new space, you may be completely inundated with new requests. The environments are designed with a pure round move, in order you get the lay of the land you may discover extra folks, unlock new areas, and fulfill requests. There is a pure rhythm to strolling round city, recognizing new stuff you hadn’t noticed earlier than and grabbing photographs, after which repeating the loop to do it once more. Usually you may end up getting a brand new request and having a “eureka!” second, remembering one thing conspicuous you had seen in your final journey round. I made a behavior of taking photographs of something that appeared misplaced or visually attention-grabbing, simply to be ready.
Exploring the totally different areas additionally offers you an ever-growing assortment of cassette tapes you’ll be able to play in your Hikelady. Toem cycles by way of these randomly by itself, however you’ll be able to decide one to play as effectively. The soundtrack is soothing and welcoming, with quite a lot of musical and instrumental types to signify the assorted areas. You’ve restricted management over playback, although, and must manually choose one observe at a time as an alternative of making any type of playlist or blacklisting songs that are not your fancy. The catchy tunes often match the temper effectively sufficient on their very own with out fussing with the controls.
There is a gentle tools system at play in Toem. Typically you may must put on a specific hat to realize entry to an space, or put on a sure kind of footwear to make use of a particular capacity. Many of the tools is solely beauty and the sport clearly alerts when it has an precise gameplay perform. Fiddling along with your tools is barely barely and sometimes tedious, because it would not come up usually. It is not a lot of a trouble, however it does barely interrupt the soothing expertise if you’re in an space that requires costume modifications.
The story themes in Toem are delivered with the lightest of sunshine touches. You are inspired to exit and see the world, and in an summary means, it appears to resemble a delicate coming-of-age story a few child’s first journey away from house. Whereas it is ostensibly about seeing the great thing about the world by way of a digital camera lens, it is open-minded concerning the varieties that magnificence can take. You are not restricted to nature or wildlife–though each of these play an element. You may discover one thing worthwhile in the way in which youngsters play within the woods, a salty previous fisherman on a dock, or graffiti alongside the edges of buildings in a cityscape. It is a very foolish and kooky recreation on the entire, however these moments make it really feel prefer it has one thing to say about appreciating your environment, no matter they could be.
Toem is a slight game–just round three to 4 hours–which retains it from overstaying its welcome. Going again by way of each space to gather each final photograph in your assortment will prolong its playtime, however on the entire it is simply quick and candy.
Whenever you attain Toem, the occasion itself, it actually does really feel spectacular within the context of the sport. Extra essential, although, is what it represents. Toem is a straightforward, cute fable about rising up and fascinating with the world. And just like the phenomenon, it is actually finest in case you see it for your self.