Initially released in September of 2021, Toem recently hit PlayStations as a free game to play with PlayStation Plus. But if you haven’t played Toem or even heard about it until it graced PS Plus, I implore you to try this little indie game. Developed by Something We Made, Toem asks players to embark on an expedition to the legendary Toem, an unknown but supposedly remarkable structure. So, along the way, you’ll help various characters by snapping photos and solving intuitive puzzles with your handy-dandy camera. It’s a relatively short but delightful journey filled with hand-drawn scenes, quirky characters, and an unexpected but beautiful message. So, without further ado, here are three reasons why you need to give this indie game some love.
Simplistic but Deep
From the get-go, Toem seems simplistic and straightforward. And it is. But that simplicity is a boon; Toem has easy mechanics, and its puzzles aren’t much of a challenge, which means that Toem is effortless to get lost in. But while a casual experience, Toem offers some surprising moments of pathos that are just perfect for curling up in a blanket with some hot chocolate. Between the warmth of the characters, lack of any consequences, and the unexpected revelations about your journey when you finally take a picture of Toem, it’s easy to sink into the feelings that Toem elicits from moment to moment. And Toem is all about the moments you capture on your camera and the moments you spend with the characters. And ultimately, the moment you reach your goal and reflect on your journey. It’s a beautiful little game with no right to be as wonderful as it is.
For a game that’s black and white, Toem has so many colorful characters. Along your journey, you’ll travel to diverse areas, from a snowy landscape to an ocean-side town. And each region has characters that not only perfectly fit into the backgrounds but are just so quirky. From a walking, talking sock-man looking for the missing sock he hung up to dry to the kooky astronomer who asks you to locate an asteroid to a musical wizard looking for a tune, there are so many unique characters that offer a bounty of warmth and humor. And while you don’t spend much time with any one character, nor do they have long strings of dialogue, the developers still manage to insert a lot of personality into their characters in these brief interactions.
The hand-drawn graphics bring so much cuteness to the world of Toem. Beyond the wacky characters, the artwork breathes life into the various locations you encounter. And with each unique place you visit, the obstacles and puzzles you’ll encounter perfectly match each theme. But possibly the best part about the stages you’ll explore is that players can rotate each. With a tilt of the thumbstick, you’ll find a new perspective to investigate. Plenty of puzzles will require you to change your view to complete, and there are many hidden objects to find. Toem isn’t the first game to implement such a mechanic, but it’s used wonderfully to bring out the best in each location.
Toem is so easy and short that anyone can take the time out of their day to enjoy it. But it’s definitely worth it. The characters and locations won’t fail to entertain, and when all is said and done, Toem will leave you feeling warm and thoughtful at the end of your journey.
Toem is available for free with PlayStation Plus