Back in February, I covered a lot of the Steam Game Festival demos but sadly didn’t get to cover all of them. One of the titles that looked very promising but didn’t get covered was Tasomachi, which is a 3D Platformer in a charming fantasy world. In TASOMACHI: Behind The Twilight, you step into the role of Yukumo, a young girl traversing the world in her beloved airship. Upon arriving at a certain town her airship gets taken down by a mysterious force, which is why she now has to explore the town in search of parts for repair… but something’s wrong since the town has fallen silent with no trace of its inhabitants.
Developer: Orbital Express, nocras Publisher: PLAYISM Genre: Atmospheric, Fantasy, 3D Platformer, Exploration Release Date: April 14th, 2021 Reviewed on: PC Available on: PC Copy was sent by the devs.
First of all, I’d like to mention that the world is beautiful. Usually, I’d talk about the presentation later on in the review but I feel like a huge selling point for this game is the wonderful art and the atmosphere in the games. The artist-turned-indie-dev, nocra, has been known for contributions to the art of Final Fantasy XIII-2, XIV: A Realm Reborn, freelance 2D art on The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, as well as Xenoblade Chronicles 2. Hence, it comes as no surprise that the world of Tasomachi is beautiful, mysterious and enigmatic. The world is pretty and feels livelier every time you complete the challenges of the different places and every time you bring back more people. The music by Ujico*/Snail’s House certainly adds to this feel as well with chill and cosy vibes during the day and relaxed melodies during the night. The challenges that you complete feature some somewhat funky and futuristic sounds as well that certainly mix things up and overall, I love the presentation, the soundtrack, the art style and the character design to bits and feel like it’s outstanding.
The gameplay loop consists of you visiting these different places in the world, trying to collect Sources of the Earth, which are necessary to lift the fog and bring the towns back to life. By completing the challenges and getting the protection of the Sacred Trees, you essentially revitalise the places and get some repairs done for your ship, resulting in a bit of a Zelda-like experience minus the combat. There are a bunch of puzzles like mazes and switch-puzzles as well as some platforming challenges that involve mechanics that get introduced along the way. Some of the sacred trees also grant you powerups, like a mid-air dash or a stomp, that you can perform to get to Sources of the Earth around the map.
While I usually hate platforming in games, I actually don’t mind it in this game. The puzzles feel interesting and innovative in a way with mechanics you may know from other games but used in different ways. Similarly, I like that Tasomachi features multiple short sections that you have to overcome instead of one long painful course of jumping puzzles, which overall makes it more enjoyable. If you fail it a couple of times, it can get annoying but it’s not as bad as in other games which is why even I got a bit competitive. “Just one more time! This time I’ll get it” – And well, if you don’t want to do it, you can use coins to skip challenges completely. Usually, I don’t think highly of skip-buttons like that but the game has more than enough challenges for you to experience, so I don’t think it’s that bad to be able to skip a challenge or a few to make progress. The coins can be found around the map in random spots and they tend to respawn quite quickly, too, meaning that you don’t have to grind or anything like that. Once you got rid of the fog in a town, you also can use the coins to purchase decorations for your room in the silent valley or buy concept art and costumes, which is a nice little touch, in my opinion.
And then there’s also your trusty airship. I like the feel and the controls of it, especially as the areas are stunning and more than enjoyable to fly through. The plotline of your ship breaking down, sadly, puts a bumper into this as you’ll have to get through a few areas first before you can soar through the skies again… but once you get through that part of the story, it’s more enjoyable than it would have been before due to the revitalised towns and areas that now feature boats, new challenges and even more areas to explore. It’s an interesting take, in my opinion, especially as you can use your ship freely at that point, too, to fly through courses or flutter between buildings. On top of that, I love the nice little touches that the world has to offer like the day-night cycle and the animations and particles that your airship uses. It’s overall a very pleasant experience. I’d imagine, however, that the developers could maybe add some more life to the world in form of bugs, birds, and other critters to enhance the experience even more.
But even if I praise this game so much, I’ll have to say that there are things that I don’t like. First of all, I hate that you always “respawn” at the dock when you fall into the water in another part of the town. I’d enjoy it a lot more if you would just get put back at the last save spot or the last time you touched the ground… Failing a jump somewhere and falling into the water doesn’t have consequences for you aside from the fact that you have to go all the way over there again. Also, there are lanterns around the map that you can light and I find it hard to keep track of them all, especially as the light goes out when you enter a building or a sanctuary. I was wondering if something special happens if I light them all up but I couldn’t really find out as I would either lose track of where I’ve been already or I’d end up resetting it by accident.
And then there are the settings for the game… There are no keybindings that can be changed, for instance, which is bad for accessibility. You also cannot change the gamma settings or turn off some of the particle effects. There is also an issue with the “Medium Resolution” that cause the water to flicker when you move the camera around, which is quite annoying… I would have liked it if you could change independent settings like particle effects, motion blur, bloom, lighting, control scheme, etc. in the settings instead of just being able to change the resolution. Stuff like that should be a given in 2021 in my opinion.
Apart from that though, I like this game. The puzzles have the right amount of challenge to them and can be skipped if you want to. The game is beautiful on the high to highest settings and presentable on lower resolutions. The soundtrack is amazing. The art and animation are great. I like that there is a photo mode in the game. I can recommend TASOMACHI to anyone that is looking for a nice and chill time in a pretty environment.