Toem is a photography and adventure game, where the player controls a young photographer through Scandinavian inspired towns and landscapes. In these towns the player will encounter various characters who will ask the player for help. By helping these characters, the player will earn stamps and after collecting a sufficient amount of stamps the player is able to ride a bus and progress to the next location. The aim of the adventure is to reach the highest peak of a mountain and experience the phenomenon called Toem.
The player explores the world from a top-down perspective; however, it will shift to first person when taking photos. The game has very simple and easy controls, calm music, and an interesting world to explore, which made the game a pleasant experience. One adjective that describes Toem well is peaceful – it does not have stressful situations, you can just sit back, relax, and enjoy the adventure it takes you on. The gameplay revolves around helping the local characters by solving various puzzles by using a camera. The concept of the game is fun and unique, and I really enjoyed my time exploring cute villages while taking pictures and helping characters. You are able to use zoom, add filters and even flip the camera to take a selfie. There are also a couple of “tools” which you will be able to attach to your camera (such as honk), which will help you access certain areas, complete tasks, or help the characters. By helping characters, you are also able to receive items – such as shoes and hats – which you can use to customize the playable character’s outfit.
Black and white art style is something that I both like and dislike. Being someone who is from the Nordic, it would have been nice to experience the adventure in color because I feel like it would have made the game even more beautiful and brought the landscapes to life, as the player travels through a forest and a beach town. Maybe there could have been an option to choose to play in color or black and white, of course this would have been more work to the developers but maybe it could have been a good addition. Nevertheless, the black and white art style suited the game, and its simple yet modern appearance, and did not bother me while playing – it just left me wondering, what if?
There is a wide selection of non-playable characters (NPCs) in the game, which vary depending on the town you are currently exploring. I appreciate the fact that the developers have used time to create various different characters that suit the environment, they are presented in. It is also very interesting that in Toem, it is not told what and who the playable character is (despite them being a young photographer), but it is for the player to decide. To me they look like a cartoon sheep, to you probably something entirely different. All things considered Toem is a peaceful and wholesome experience, and I would recommend it to anyone who would enjoy taking photos, solving puzzles, and encountering cute characters.
Publsiher: Something We Made
Developer: Something We Made
Release Date: September 17, 2021
Platform(s): PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch and PC
Genres: adventure, puzzle, photography
Cover image. Screenshot from the PlayStation store. https://www.playstation.com/fi-fi/games/toem/
Pictures of gameplay. Screenshots from Toem (Something We Made, 2021). Taken by the author.