TOEM Review

Introduction

TOEM is a photography puzzle game made by indie developer Something We Made, who also self published the game. It was released to PC, Switch and PlayStation 5 in September 2021.

Review

It’s time to leave the house and adventure through the world with nothing but your backpack and your trusty camera. Driven by your grandmother’s love for you, you decide it’s time to find and photograph the phenomenon that is TOEM! But it’s a long trip, and how will you get there!? Well luckily the bus company is oh so generous and they want to help you! So off you go, to take pictures and make memories!

As you progress through the game, you don’t exactly have a huge narrative to work with. Instead you go from area to area, helping people out with photos! You listen to their story, and help them do what needs to be done. Like the scouts that all need to take a picture of certain food ingredients in the forest. You find yourself being swept up into their fun little game, and if you can get the pictures first, you’ll be an honorary scout. Or climbing a deadly icy mountain to help a balloon family, yes that’s right, a balloon family, find their little balloon son. It’s all so cute and silly and just good fun!

There wasn’t a story I didn’t really like, though there was one that I had to look up on how to do, because even though the game is cute and fun, it’s still a small puzzle game at the core of it all. But in this instance it’s puzzles done right. You won’t be straining your noggin’ on how to do this, or do that, or acquire this item, to get past that guy. No, instead you find ways to take specific photos that you need to fulfill your request. The gang who wants to see pictures of street art, needs you, too well, to take pictures. So you run from area to area, trying to find what you can. Or a lady who wants to see monsters from all over the place, so you have to find a giant yeti, or the lochness monster, but it’s not so easy, as you need to use your brain a little bit, but not too much.

Each area of the game has a specific amount of objectives you can do in them, but luckily for people who don’t like to do everything, you only ever have to do half of them. Doing so gets you stamps to let you get a free bus ticket and get to the next area. But the areas were so fun to explore anyways, and take pictures of things, I had no issue exploring it all. There’s even silly things you can find in the environment if you’re willing to look. I found a fish bowl in one area that looked empty at first, but if you zoom in on it with your camera, a fish appears. You can even get filters and frames to make your pictures look really silly if that’s your thing. I tried it a few times, but at the end of the day, I stuck to basic pictures. There’s just so many little things to find and bugs to take pictures of if you wanted to!

The game is shown in all black and white, with each area being a small landscape and you can spin it around or zoom in and out to closely inspect things as you wish. This actually works really well for the feel that the game is trying to pull off, yet at the same time, it is really annoying when everything just blends in together. The birds are black and white, the mushroom you need to get a picture of is black and white, that snail is black and white! I loved that it pulled off the look, but again, I didn’t like it. There’s only one event that has a ton of colour and it doesn’t make it even more beautiful in the long run at least.

Rating

Rating: 9 out of 10.

Pros:

  • Secrets To Uncover
  • Puzzles Aren’t To Mind Boggling
  • Lots Of Silly Stories

Cons:

  • Everything Just Blends In Together

Summary

This game was absolutely fantastic. It’s cute, it’s short, nothing will hurt your brain and there’s a ton of things to uncover. Better yet, at the time of writing this review, they just announced DLC! So there will soon be more to do and things to take pictures of! It’s a must play! So play it!

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Game & Developer Information

Developer/Publisher Website: Something We Made
Developer/Publisher Socials: Twitter
Publisher Socials: Twitter
PSN Store Links: £15.99/€19.99 Europe / $19.99 North America
Trophy Information: 38. 40-platinum 1 / Gold 4 / Silver 13 / Bronze 20

TOEM – Release Date Announcement Trailer | PS5

Published by oniwalker

Co-owner of NodeGamers(dot)com. Reviewer and Guide Writer. I'll play just about anything as I cry about my backlog!

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