Photo Adventure – TOEM

A long time ago during a Steam Nextfest, I played TOEM’s demo but this week I am here to finish what I started. This week I took lots of really terrible photos and experienced

TOEM is a photography-themed adventure game from Something We Made. It was released in September of 2021, is on PC and the Nintendo Switch, and retails for $20.

It is time…Time for you to adventure out on your own. Armed with your camera that conveniently has dynamic zoom, you are given information from a loved one about the experience that is TOEM and are told to head to the bus station. The bus station functions as the travel hub for the game, with the monkey man giving you a bus card for each of the four incredibly diverse areas. A super-dense forest that contains a hotel built into a very large tree, a seaside town whose beach is filled with sea monsters and storms, an actual incredibly dirty, fast-paced city, and a cute snowy mountain, helping people with that god damn camera.

When you acquire the camera for the first time, functions are limited to zoom and the ability to take a selfie, but as the game progresses, a tripod and even filters are introduced to glam up the photos you take.

Nothing elaborate, the game just wants you to take some goofy photos the way you want to.

Each area is filled to the brim with characters to meet and provide assistance with your camera: Woodland scouts that are hidin’ and seekin’, a guy who really doesn’t want to move from his spot on the beach, a gang that wants to see some graffiti and a yeti that just wants to see something fluffy. There are a ton of moments confined to a specific area but there are some that extended through the entire game, for instance, the inspector that is trying to find a shady character that seemingly crops up in every area. The characters that inhabit TOEM are absolutely adorable and humorous. There is a crying child that is apart from his mother that, when reunited, tells you that he was never crying, an elderly woman that is known for her car stunts, a scientist that rides around on a Segway and has an army of lazy robots to do her bidding. There are so many of these characters that inhabit the world of TOEM, which gives each area its own humor and liveliness.

In order to progress to the next area, you will need to achieve a certain amount of stamps on your bus card. Stamps are given out after you complete the wide array of quests that are given to the player. Finding a cat hanging on a phone line, doing specific challenges from Photo Challenge givers, reuniting a family of balloons, and finding a very secret forest rave, all reward the player with stamps. There is so much to do in each section that if the player does in fact get stuck on something, there is most certainly something else to take the player’s focus away. It all works extremely well.

The key here is that TOEM wants nothing more than the object, and nothing more. This means that there is complete freedom in the way that the player can take photos.

There are seemingly endless amounts of things to collect, whether it be stamps, clothes, animals to document in the compendium, and even tapes for your tape player from Launchable Socks and Jamal Green, which create a really wonderful soundtrack to take photos to.

TOEM is a top-down, hand-drawn adventure outside of taking photos but first person when in photo mode. Each area is broken up into sections that the camera can easily pan over. There are areas that contain secrets, so look everywhere when adventuring. The game is easy on the eyes because 99% of the game is in black and white.

TOEM is a really fun game. It is cute and accessible for all. This game can be played by everyone, regardless of skill. Taking pictures is the main focus, so as long as you have the object in the frame, you have completed the objective. TOEM caters to those who can take impressive photos and people like me who cannot take a photo worth a damn. The game is not difficult, is hilarious on occasion, easy on the eyes and makes you feel good when you play it.

TOEM has everything that a great video game contains and therefore, I recommend this game highly.

I will be going back to 100% it, I promise

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