Games with puzzles as one of their core mechanics are usually not the first I think of when looking for something to play. But Tengami caught my attention because it plunges the player into a book, a pop-up book to be more exact. As someone whose favourite book is The Neverending Story, I have this passion for stories within stories. Mix that with my love for pop-up books and Japanese aesthetics, and Tengami seemed like just the game for me.
Oh, and did I mention it was made by Nyamyam, one little English studio that made one of my favourite indie games in the last years, the beautifully quirky Astrologaster? Yes, I definitely had to play this other game of theirs.
Tengami was the studio’s first foray into this idea of using pop-up books as inspiration for a game’s aesthetic. But unlike, Astrologaster, Tengami fully embodies this pop-up book concept into the very mechanics and gameplay. That combination offers a very enjoyable tactile sensation when playing it, each folding of a page leading us further into the subtle narrative.
In this game, you flip, fold, slide and pull as a way to solve puzzles and uncover your path within the scenery. The journey you embark on as the silent protagonist of Tengami is one inspired by ancient Japanese fairy tales, complete with ancient shrines, mountain waterfalls, and ominous forests. On the heart of it all lies a dying cherry tree, waiting to be reborn.
The story and narrative of Tengami are light, feeling mostly poetic in their nature with cryptic short messages spread throughout the game. Tengami is, above all else, a relaxing experience, an atmospheric journey through stunning visuals accompanied by a beautiful soundtrack created by renowned composer David Wise.
If you are looking for a short relaxing game to enjoy after a stressful day, Tengami is a great choice. Let the music and the visuals soothe you as you find your way through the puzzles of this paper world.