Touch and swipe to fold and unfold paper. Tengami (out now, $4.99) is a delight to open for a first “read”.
Both pop-up book and adventure game, Tengami, with its Japanese art form, offers a Zen-like experience. And with all things Zen, you’ll need some patience to move through the game. The character you control walks slowly, and sometimes you’ll need to backtrack to solve puzzles.
The game reminded me instantly of another artistic game, Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP. To me, Tengami is more beautiful, but I found Superbrothers more engaging game-wise.
Your goal in Tengami is to find four pink cherry blossoms to revive a dying tree. This journey will take you to four regions, through various Japanese landscapes, from the wolf-infested wilderness to an empty temple and across the sea. Along the way, you’ll interact with objects, such as by pulling paper tabs, and sometimes there are items to collect that will help you get through certain stages.
In the paper world of Tengami, you can direct the character by double tapping on the spot you’d like him to move to. You can also fold and unfold paper bridges, steps, etc, and activate objects such as wind chimes by pulling them out from where they hang on trees. It is lovely to behold at the start, though after some time the novelty might wear off.
Tengami’s Japanese-flavored soundtrack is as mesmerizing as the artwork. I especially enjoyed being able to unfold the paper (or turn the page) and thereby go from one building or scene to another.
iFanzine Verdict: Tengami is a gorgeous and unique experience. It is a treat at the start for lovers of adventure games but if you’re the impatient sort then this Zen-like game might not be your favorite. Also, there are no hints if you get stuck, and some of the puzzles involve more guesswork than smart thinking. Once completed, the game has little replay value, though this is common with many story-based adventure games.