Tengami
Gameplay 6
Graphics 9
Sound 9

The standout features of Tengami are definitely the unique visuals and great soundtrack, but the tranquil gameplay is also quite good. It doesn’t have an epic story or any action, but the gentle puzzle solving and relaxing atmosphere makes for an interesting experience. The game doesn’t have a lot of freedom, challenge or replay value, but it is quite enjoyable while it lasts and definitely leaves an impression.

Gameplay: The puzzles are fairly straightforward and not very numerous, but interacting with the gameworld by pulling or sliding parts of the scenery is quite neat.

Graphics: The pop-up book world visuals are simply beautiful.

Sound: Features an atmospheric and very appropriate soundtrack by David Wise

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Tengami

Developer: Nyamyam | Publisher: Nyamyam | Release Date: 2014 | Genre: Indie / Adventure / Puzzle / Casual | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam / itch.io

The lead character in Tengami might be a samurai, but don’t expect to hack and slash your way through this game. Instead, the unnamed samurai appears to be on a quest to acquire the sakura blossoms of a dying tree in order to restore it. Standing between him and his goal is a series of obstacles in the form of puzzles and not foes. The result is a casual, relaxing experience which is made even better by the unique visual style used.

Tengami was originally released on iOS and later the Wii U, but if you have already played these versions and expect something more from the PC release you will be disappointed. However, newcomers are in for a treat as even without any changes Tengami is a game with lots of style and a unique atmosphere. This is due to the visuals that are designed to look like a Japanese pop-up book. The journey of your samurai will take you through a forest, across seasons and even over the ocean, with appropriate palette changes for each of the scenes. The traditional Japanese style illustrations not only look great, but form an integral part of the gameplay as well. As you walk through the multi-layered landscapes of sharp lines and pastel colors, marked hotspots invite you to pull, slide and drag elements in order to solve puzzles. You might be required to manipulate the scenery in order to create a path or to spot symbols that would otherwise be obscured from your view. With the exception of one or two puzzles the solutions are always straightforward which cuts down on any frustration and a built-in hint system enables players of any skill level to complete the game. I would definitely have liked to see more done with this unique concept though.

It is not just the visuals that are impressive, but the moody soundtrack by David Wise as well. The soundtrack makes effective use of traditional Japanese instruments to create an immersive atmosphere, so be sure to play this game with headphones on and the volume up high. The sound effects in Tengami are also spot on, from the rustling of wind through trees, to water flowing and wolves howling. There is no speech in the game, but this fits in well with the tranquil nature of the whole experience. In fact, beyond a haiku for each level you complete there is no text in the game either to further the storyline, which makes it open to interpretation. The relaxing nature of the game coupled with the unique visuals and great soundtrack made it feel like I was watching a dream of a samurai sleeping underneath a sakura tree unfolding.

Although obviously designed with touch screen devices in mind, Tengami is still very playable using a mouse. You simply point and click where you want your samurai to move and click and drag to interact with the gameworld. Since all hotspots are clearly marked you will rarely be confused about what to do in order to proceed. The character movement felt a bit slower than what some people might be used to as you cannot run in this game, but it gives you enough time to soak in the atmosphere of each screen.

Tengami is definitely a game where I recommend you take your time playing as the whole experience will be over in less than two hours. There are four achievements, but these are all tied to progressing through the game and cannot be missed, so there is very little replay value. Apart from its short length and a couple of instances where backtracking was required I really enjoyed the experience of playing Tengami although obviously it won’t appeal to players who demand plenty of action from their games.

The relaxing nature of Tengami makes it a great choice for when you feel like dipping into something that won’t require a huge investment in time or effort. The gameplay is definitely more suited to mobile devices, but still looks great and plays well on PC. If you base value for money on how long it takes you to complete a game instead of the actual experience you might want to wait for a price drop though. However, if you want something a little different from the usual retro platformer and role playing games that are so prevalent lately you can do far worse than Tengami.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows Vista
  • Processor: Core 2 Duo
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Open GL 2.1 compatible graphics card
  • Hard Drive: 900 MB available space
  • OS: Mountain Lion
  • Processor: Core 2 Duo
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Open GL 2.1 compatible graphics card
  • Hard Drive: 500 MB available space

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1 Comment

  1. NotThatMan94 January 17, 2015
    Reply

    Very pretty!

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