One of the great advantages of the independent video game scene is that developers can risk more creatively, which often leaves us with experiences worth living. TOEM perfectly fulfills all this, because although it is a short and light game, I am convinced that its footprint will last me a long time.
The first time I saw TOEM, a long time ago, I was completely stunned by its artistic style. The black and white tones, and that smooth, streamlined line made me wish with all my might it was a good game. Has it ever happened to you? Because, sometimes, a title can be beautiful, but it can be boring or indifferent to play it. Luckily, the new Something We Made game it’s very worth it And it’s so much more than just a pretty face
That said, I think TOEM, and you will allow me the cliché, It is not for everybody. This adventure is an experience that must be lived, but that not all players will appreciate equally, and it is understandable. Its gameplay is not complex, although it is satisfactory, but the important thing is your story, what it transmits and how it does it. Without wanting to match it in quality, I have felt the same as with Gris, Deliver Us The Moon, or the recent 12 Minutes and The Artful Escape: they are necessary games, different, that make you smile while you enjoy them.
The world seen from a camera
TOEM is a photo adventure, a game of exploration and, in a way, of ingenuity. Our goal is to travel from Hogarlandia, the place where our humble abode is, to the highest point of this beautiful world, in order to see the TOEM, a magical phenomenon, of which I will not tell you anything more because part of the magic is seeing it for the first time.
In order to get there, we need to travel by bus between different parts of the world. We do not have money, nor do we intend to get it, so the only way to get around by bus is helping the inhabitants that we meet on our journey. In this way, for doing a good job for the community, we will get stamps that will give us access to free trips on the bus.
For it, camera in hand, we have to give a cable to the different characters that we are meeting, with very varied and really fun designs. Many people have compared the game to New Pokémon Snap, I suppose because of the photography relationship, but this title has absolutely nothing to do with the Nintendo Switch video game.
All the activities that we are doing are based, in one way or another, on photograph our surroundings, although there are some phases in which we will simply have to observe what surrounds us. TOEM reproduces, saving distances, that concept of “chain of favours” which, for example, does The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening so well.
It is not just helping others, because many of those missions they will reward us with a necessary item in order to keep moving forward. In the game, we can equip ourselves with clothes, which beyond aesthetics, also have some usefulness in some cases, such as glasses to see ghosts. Also our camera gets some curious improvement that I will not gut.
The magic of photography
TOEM has various scenarios that gain in complexity as we advance and, if I had to put a but to the game, it is that I have been wanting more (and that is a compliment). The latest maps, in the big city and on a snow-filled mountain, are large, convoluted, with many secrets and with a very good design, with actions that can even change the environment itself.
I said before that I think the game has a wit point, because it wouldn’t fit into the puzzles either. The characters of the game, either to overcome their missions or to fulfill additional challenges that sometimes put us, and pistas about what they want me to let’s take pictures, but they don’t do it explicitly.
On many occasions, especially at the end of the game and if you want to complete the entire title, we have to pull imagination to find out what they are asking of us. If we cannot find the resolution, the community card, the place where everything is written down, will give us some more advice. Some requests are somewhat difficult to guess, something that I do not criticize at all: this struggle to guess what is being asked of us it’s part of grace.
Especially since when you do one of those more convoluted photographic puzzles you feel a immense satisfactionAlthough don’t worry, it is not a complicated game to overcome. If you want to get all the achievements it is already more challenging and lasting, of course. I don’t want to give you examples because it would seem like a spoiler unforgivable in this case, but I will only tell you, to name something, that a row of stars can be seen as something else.
TOEM is short, I have passed it in less than 3 hours, although everything will depend on what you get stuck with these challenges. To complete it 100% perfectly, you may need 2 or 3 more hours but, I insist, it is something that will vary a lot in each player. Even so, do not get carried away by the duration: it is a magical, fun game that makes you enjoy and has a very deep message.
The importance of the road
How many times have we been told that happiness is the journey and not so much destiny? TOEM is a perfect definition of this, because the most important thing is not the end, but everything you live until you get there. Helping these characters is cleanse the soul, but at the same time it is to enjoy serious, comic, sad or crazy situations, and it is see the world with different eyes.
And that is the greatness of TOEM: it is no longer that many missions invite us to imagine that what surrounds us is much more than what we see with the naked eye, but that it helps us to love our environment. One of the secondary objectives is to photograph all the animals that we see, in a clear taste for appreciating and caring for nature.
All of this comes with that touch of shake hands with those who need it, with a special mention to those unique photos that we take of characters who are sunk and help to regain happiness: shine after recovering the tranquility and the smile thanks to us, and it is something that fills us.
This cocktail of sensations is constantly accompanied by a delicious artistic and graphic style, with a mix between 2D characters and 3D scenery that suits him like a glove. Also, the soundtrack is subtle, calm, perfect for the occasion. It is such a beautiful game that it makes you want to capture, print and paint as we did as a child, although you do not need color to express how lively and enriching it is.
TOEM is an experiential game, which is based on capturing us with its delicate history, its varied and surprising characters, and the different situations we face. In addition, the video game reminds us that doing good makes us better, and that we have to enjoy our day to day and our effort to achieve a goal much more.
The title is short, it does not have a revolutionary gameplay, and it is true that it leaves you wanting more, but without a doubt it is one of those video games that are needed, in which there is no fear to create something different and unique. Not everyone will like it, but I can only tell you that play it and enjoy it.