Tengami (iOS) Review

By Adam Riley 24.02.2014 1

Review for Tengami on iOS

Last year, Cubed3 had the chance to try out Nyamyam Games' Tengami on Wii U eShop, a game that is somewhat akin to a point-and-click adventure, but with a very quirky twist. Whilst there is still a short wait until that iteration emerges, the iPhone and iPad editions are now readily available at a mere £2.99. The question is, though, whether the artistic flair is simply covering lacklustre gameplay. After a positive hands-on session last year, intrigue got the better of the team and the results of the iPhone play-through are here to behold…

The idea behind Tengami is to retrieve cherry blossom and restore a once great tree back to its former magnificence - simple as that. There is no long narrative, nor any major story plotlines that unfold as the adventure continues, and for the most part it works fine in that way. Some may bemoan the lack of connection between player and game because of this but the link is built by the wonderful artistic direction instead, both visually and aurally. This is a serene journey set across dark forests, abandoned shrines and tranquil mountain waterfalls, and the puzzles will get the mind a-bending for the most part.

Looking at the majestically crafted paper-filled Japanese pop-up-book world in screenshots, it would be easy to presume it is a mere gimmick, yet the world itself becomes a part of the actual game, acting as a key ingredient of the puzzles that hamper progress. Flipping certain sections of the surroundings changes the pathways for the main character to amble across, and finding the right combination is imperative to reach the next area. One of the main thoughts flitting across the mind is how the layered paper effect would seriously benefit from the 3D depth of the Nintendo 3DS, so it is hoped that Nyamyam has that system in its sights for further down the line as it would complement the experience considerably.

More often than not, moving forwards will take time as various permutations are worked through. Thankfully, taking the time required to do this is not a tiresome endeavour due to the beauty of the visuals, sound effects and gorgeous accompanying score.

Screenshot for Tengami on iOS

Other puzzles types in Tengami include figuring out patterns, spotting hidden markings within the folds and shadows of the paper craft setting, and even flicking between various seasons to find key objects required to unlock new sections - there is a wide variety packed into this bite-sized adventure. Everything is done at a snail's pace, which initially proves amazingly frustrating coming off the back of Broken Age where double-clicking at the edge of the screen automatically zooms the character to the next area. However, this is where David Wise's phenomenal music comes into full effect. Whilst most people will be lapping up his work in Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze right now, some of the musical pieces for Tengami's score are simply stunning and excel more so than the Nintendo-led work. The whole soundtrack in general is great, but there are a handful of tracks that are in another league completely.

Controls are very intuitive to the point where all ages and gaming levels can simply jump straight in - double tapping causes the lead to walk to the desired location or tapping on glowing areas causes him to enter places that trigger moments of interactivity, such as being able to flip a page to change the surroundings or slide small elements around to subtly alter aspects to uncover secrets and crack conundrums. The obtuse nature of some later puzzles may annoy certain sectors of the gaming community, especially given the slow walking pace of the main character when needed to trek back and forth to find clues that may have previously been missed, yet this adds to the challenge. Sure, it can be moderately vexing, but the lack of a hints system (something that was being considered when discussed with Nyamyam back at the Eurogamer Expo 2013) is probably more disappointing.

Finally, the good news for non-English speaking readers is that the game has been translated into German, French, Italian, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, Japanese, Korean, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Russian, Danish, Swedish and Turkish!

Screenshot for Tengami on iOS

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

What could very well have been a very bland and basic adventure turns out to be a magnificent ride - albeit a far too brief one - that shows the talent of upstart studio Nyamyam Games. Smart puzzles wrapped up in a beautiful aesthetic with an amazing soundtrack make the (short) journey to the final credits an absolute pleasure. Overly slow character movement, no hints system for rookies, and - you guessed it - a shorter than expected experience, mar what is otherwise a truly joyous piece of gaming art.









C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   


Has anyone else been tempted to download this yet, or are you all waiting for the Wii U version? I'm surprised by the varied reviews, with some sites criticising it far more than I feel is justified.

I'm intrigued to see what updates are coming further down the line. I wonder if they'll be free? One of the advertising points from the team is that it's a 'full game without adverts.'

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

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