Everybody loves storybooks. Windows into other worlds that let us escape from the mundanity of daily life. Some will make you laugh, others cry. Then there are those that do something else entirely. They create and experience that you remember long after you close the pages. Thus we open Tengami…
Surprisingly, given it’s existence within the world of a pop-up book, story is not a major aspect of Tengami. With words kept to a minimum, the game depicts a vague story relating to a withered cherry tree and the man who would journey to save it.
Tengami possesses an excessively simple manner of play that lends well to its overall atmosphere. Moving throughout the world is as simple as double tapping your intended destination. When you reach special points of light, you are able to proceed to the next area. However rather than moving yourself, a quick swipe folds the world around you and throws you onto the next page of the story.
As a whole, Tengami possesses a very slow and peaceful pace. Never at and point in the game is any importance placed time, rather the puzzles are to be solved as fast as you see fit. These puzzles are also rather spread out across the level, providing more than enough opportunities to simply relax and admire the scenery. That being said, occasional mistakes may lead to a fair deal of backtracking which, whilst scenic, can become tiresome after a time.
The puzzles themselves are not inherently difficult, with most leaning on simple deduction and your skills of perception to reveal the solution. However, there are a few that a bit more straightforward and require a more forceful trial and error approach. Regardless, both are solved through simple tap and swipe controls. Objects of importance will present themselves with a slight shine, serving as a beacon for story progression.
Tengami is a beautiful game. In fact, it’s unique visual style is what has gained it so much attention. The game utilises a variety of 2D fragments in order to lend a sense of depth to the world, whilst following the physical limitations of a pop-up book. This simplistic style creates a very clean cut and crisp visual that lends extremely well to the calm atmosphere of the game.
As you travel through the seasons, the colours of the game change appropriately. From sharp golds to rich purples, the game includes a number of stunning colours that add life to the environments. The visual representation of turning the pages on your adventure also provide a very interesting visual element to Tengami. Each page within the game actually follows the physical restrictions of paper and are rendered in their entirety, even during turning. It is this attention to detail that makes the game seem complete, despite its short length.
Being based upon Japanese culture, the game includes a few traditional Japanese instruments. As you quest across beautiful lands, the string accompaniment resonates with the visual style and lends strength to its ancient roots. That being said, there are moments where the soundtrack dies down and lets you experience the moments of simple tranquillity. In one particular stage, the world remains silent bar for the steady sound of a running steam and the haunting howl of a nearby wolf. It’s remarkably peaceful. This balance between sound and silence is just another element that lends to Tengamis status as a complete experience.
Tengami is a rather unique title. The 2D paper style creates an immediately recognisable visual that helps it stand apart from other mobile titles. Rather than overwhelm with rapid action or intense sounds, Tengami takes a far more subtle route, creating a game that does not excite but instead relaxes. Though there really isn’t a story to follow, it is the gameplay that will draw your interest. However the game itself is a rather brief affair, possessing a mere three levels to test your deductive skills. So, although Tengami will provide a unique story, it will not be a drawn out affair. Regardless, it is indeed a game worth experiencing.
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