Published on January 7th, 2015 | by Darren Bolton
Review: Tengami (Wii U)
Format reviewed: Wii U eShop
Other formats available: iPad
Website: Official Site
Tengami is a difficult game to solidify a final opinion on for me. On the one hand it looks and sounds beautiful, it’s pleasant enough and different to most things on the Wii U. But then the game is very slow, far too basic in its puzzles, and has no real character, story or location; you know, usually pretty important aspects for a point and click “adventure”.
I will say though, that for the very brief 2 hour running time I enjoyed myself a lot, primarily because of the visual and audio design of the game. You wander through paper-craft pop-up-book worlds inspired by Japanese art and it looks stunning, there is a real delight in folding the pages over to enter buildings and just wander through the beautiful scenarios; the music, again taking its inspiration from Japan (Folk this time) is another mini-masterpiece by the excellent David Wise. All of this – the look, the sound, the design and feel of the world is more than enough to recommend playing through the game; but anymore than a couple of hours and I don’t think it has enough to keep you hooked.
This beauty only takes you so far, and often I felt frustrated the game wasn’t doing more. It being a point and click adventure there are puzzles to solve throughout, but they are all so basic, so obvious, it’s generous to call them puzzles at all; later in the game when it requires you to hunt symbols, it feels like a chore rather than a tax on the brain – you know exactly what to do, you just have to traverse the level (and it moves very slowly) to get to the answer. With the paper-craft style the scope for some inventive puzzles is completely wasted. This wouldn’t be as big a problem if the story engaged you throughout, but there isn’t one; you control an unnamed man, getting flowers to bring life to a tree, it’s simple and maybe even quite beautiful, but your mind can’t help but think about how amazing a more complex story would be in this world.
So it is difficult, I feel the designers achieved what they set out to, they wanted a very simple, short, beautiful experience, and it is that; if that appeals to you then I definitely recommend it; but during and especially afterward I’m left with this frustration at what the game could have been. Here’s hoping for a fully developed sequel.
Summary: A beautiful world that holds promise of a future masterpiece, but it's too short and simple this time.