I’m going on an adventure!
Well, the day has finally arrived — the day when you’re old enough to strike out on your own and have a culturally important photography adventure. It’s time you took a photo of the Toem yourself instead of listening to Nana’s stories about her glory days. So, pack your bag, grab your camera, and give nana a kiss — it’s time to venture outside, take photos, and do nice things for people.
So begins TOEM, which asks players to embark on a “delightful expedition and use your photographic eye to uncover the mysteries of the magical TOEM in this hand-drawn adventure game.” Currently in development by Swedish indie team Something We Made, TOEM won’t keep eager players waiting long, as has a slated Steam release date of “2021.” With intricate little worlds just begging to be photographed, TOEM is already shaping up to be an adorable adventure game that players won’t be able to put down.
Although TOEM is described as a photography adventure, you can’t embark on said adventure without transportation, silly billies. You’ll need to take the bus! And how do you take the bus? You do good deeds for other people to collect stamps! Get enough stamps on your stamp card and you can travel to the next city, free of charge. You see, the currency here is kindness, and helping others out makes you the richest photographer in the region. So get snapping and get cracking on those charitable deeds!
In this sense, TOEM is less a straight up photography adventure and more of a puzzle game that utilizes photography as fetch quests. Someone hiding out in a garbage can will ask if you’ve seen a shady dude (that *isn’t* the one hanging out in the trash can, believe it or not), while a dead horse will ask for help reminding it what it looked like in life. By snapping photos of the desired people, objects, or scenery, you’ll solve a burning mystery for a down and out NPC, netting you some sweet, sweet stamps in the process.
While you only need a certain amount of stamps to travel to the next area — and eventually the place where you’ll find the magical, mystical Toem — you have the option to stick around and help out as many NPCs as possible. Although this usually just means you’ll earn more stamps, on occasion you’ll be rewarded some great gear, including some sunglasses that allow the wearer to see ghosts, a scout cap (for scouts only), and a wet sock. You’ll also gain in-game achievements for getting everything done — in case the wet sock wasn’t reward enough — so it’s for the best that players stick around and be a good citizen.
In addition to performing good deeds, you’ll also need to complete your photo album by taking specific photos of animals and buildings. This is an easily achievable task as long as you’re exploring every nook and cranny, and since the environments are so utterly delightful, you’ll find yourself stumbling upon everything anyway. If you find yourself missing one or two, just wander through the whole level again — chances are you’ve unlocked something along the way you didn’t realize, and the elusive item is now easy to spot.
I haven’t even mentioned TOEM’s aesthetics yet, which is a travesty, since they’re incredibly charming. The hand-drawn environments and characters are adorable and uniquely express the game’s individuality. It feels childish in its style, but has enough jokes to make it clear that it’s not necessarily a child’s game. Complete with a lovely and surprisingly expansive soundtrack composed by Launchable Socks and Jamal Green (Sizeable, Equilinox), TOEM looks and sounds fantastic.
TOEM is one of those games that jumps out at you immediately and gives you all sorts of ideas on what it’s going to be about. It looks cute — is it? Yes. It looks silly — is it? Yes. It looks relaxing — is it? Yes. It looks easy af — is it? Surprisingly, no! There were a few puzzles that required a little bit of brain power and one that has me completely stumped (how tf am I supposed to help out an indignant ghost? Do their dishes? Something something antenna?). But if you possess and inquisitive mind, child’s heart, and helpful spirit, you’re sure to get the hang of things quick enough and fall in love even quicker.
Be sure to check out TOEM on Steam today!