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‘Tengami’ for iOS game review

Tengami is a very uniquely designed puzzle game. It takes the appearance of a Japanese pop-up book and you move between worlds by sliding over the pages.

The game has already received accolades for its design and was also chosen the Editor’s Choice on the App Store. We decided to take a look at it for ourselves and see how good it really is.

Gameplay

Tengami is a 3D side-scrolling puzzle game. The game makes clever use of the pop-up book design to separate levels and game worlds. Instead of simply going from one area to another, you get an option on the side of the screen to swipe and then the level in front of you folds and a new one appears, just the way a pop-up book works.

The entire game takes place inside a book, so everything from the character to the environment are made out of paper. You control the character by tapping on the ground and he will walk there. The game has a deliberate slow pacing, so he will take his own sweet time getting there. Unfortunately, you can’t press and hold to make him keep moving forward (like in Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP) and have to keep tapping constantly on the ground to make him move.

As you move forward, you will come across several puzzles along the way. Most of them involve altering the terrain ahead of you to make a path to move forward. Since it is a pop-up book, parts of the pages move and you have to move them in the correct order to make a path for your character.

Sometimes you will find that you are stuck and can’t seem to find a way forward. In that case it is recommended that you explore around a bit. Also, often the game requires that you go back and forth a bit between levels to find clues or items to solve a particular puzzle and not everything you need to crack a puzzle will be in the same room.

As mentioned before, the game has a deliberate slow pacing. It is not meant to be played in a hurry and if you go in with that mentality you are bound to be frustrated with it. The game is best experienced when played leisurely. The puzzles are also not particularly daunting. Some do require bit more thinking than the others but with a bit of exploration and observation you can get through.

Unfortunately, despite the slow pacing of the game, it still ends up being far too short. I managed to finish it in an hour and a half, and that too after mulling over a couple of puzzles longer than was necessary. There is not a ton of replay value here either, so after you finish it once there aren’t a lot of reasons to go back.

Tengami has auto-sync on iOS that backs up and synchronizes your progress across your iOS devices using iCloud, although you are likely to play and finish the game in one sitting.

Graphics and Sound

Visually, Tengami is very impressive. First of all, the concept of a pop-book is very novel and is implemented very well into the game. The matte appearance for all the 3D objects in the game to resemble paper also looks good and the visuals in general are very aesthetically pleasing and demonstrate a high level of polish and attention to detail.

The sound in the game is equally impressive. From the soothing ambient sounds to the lovely oriental tracks that play in the background, it’s all very good and complements the visuals and gameplay style well.

Verdict

Tengami is a simple puzzle game with an emphasis on design and presentation and encourages leisurely playthrough. Unfortunately, it’s too short and the actual gameplay doesn’t feel as special as the visual presentation. It’s hard to recommend this game based purely on gameplay but if you’re someone who appreciates well designed, visually appealing games then Tengami is worth a look.

Rating: 7.5/10
Pros: Beautifully designed with lovely soundtrack
Cons: Too short with not much replay value

Price: $4.99
Download: App Store

This game was reviewed on an iPad Air.

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