PAX Prime: Tengami – First Impressions

The Indie MEGABOOTH at PAX Prime is an area full of hidden gems… but every year, it gets busier and busier and harder to make your way around. You can lose an entire day inside the Expo Hall just inside this area and still not have had a chance to see everything—so naturally, we understand if you haven’t heard of this next game we’re looking at. That’s what we’re here for!

Tengami is a game developed by Nyamyam, where players adventure through a “handcrafted” pop-up book. The game’s art style is inspired by traditional Japanese art, and the setting is clearly inspired by Japanese fairytales. (Japanophiles, this one’s definitely for you!)

At the game booth, you could play the demo on either the Wii U or the iPad, but of course you know which one we’re going to recommend. The touch controls for this game are perfect, making both mediums exactly right for this particular game—you use your fingers to turn the pages of the in-game book, interacting with objects right on the page, sometimes lifting flaps or pulling tabs… yes, just like a real pop-up book!

You start the demo by getting used to turning the pages, then start leading your main character around in the calm, mysterious, atmospheric areas. It’s slow—if you’re in a hurry to get somewhere, maybe come back to it later so you can really enjoy it—but that’s because it fits with the zen-like calm of the whole scenario. You get to appreciate the game’s art and style, rather than just blasting through it. Really, we could all use with a little bit of slowing down in our lives.

As you progress, you’ll come across puzzles to solve, such as ringing chimes to distract a wolf… or locating the missing half of a seal. You won’t be rushing around to get these done, however. They’ll take time and patience, and a sense of serenity. The story also unfolds slowly, adding to the mystery and sense of reservation. Patience. (It’s good for you, sure, but we also understand that the craziness of PAX may not provide the ideal situation for the full experience!)

To get your character to move around inside the game, you simply tap where you’d like him to walk—or if you’re eating and your fingers are greasy, yes, you could use a stylus… but that wouldn’t be nearly as fun. This is a game made for touch controls—and that’s not something you often hear.

This is one of several games we’ve see this Prime that has been artistically, musically, and gameplay-wise stunning, truly creating a sense of playable artwork. The game will be released later in 2013.


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Author: Faith View all posts by
Faith likes games and books and cake and writing and Lara Croft, not necessarily in that order. She also thinks a Skylanders cartoon show is a really, REALLY good idea...

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