Many indie titles lately try to develop games for the current fad, or trend, to be able to capitalize as much as possible on the “meta” in games and boost their chances at getting sales. Unfortunately, this ends up with games offering only gameplay, and little substance as to the rest. Luckily, some developers still decide to pursue their own wishes, and can give way to some very precious games that stand out for their uniqueness rather than blend into the flow of clones of the same genre. Tasomachi is one such game that is surely different from most titles out there, in a good way of course.
Tasomachi: Behind the Twilight puts players in the shoes of Yukumo, a young girl driving her airship. Without any prior background or story, you’re in the beautiful world of Tasomachi, when your airship breaks down just outside a village. You learn that you will need to acquire Sources of the Earth, which are scattered throughout the various locations in the game. Yukumo will also need to clear the fog in order to progress in her travels, a process which can only be done by reawakening the sacred trees in each location.
The game is mainly an exploration title, with little in terms of platforming. You get to explore the different locations in the game, and while that will sound like a chore, it definitely is not. The game world is beautifully coloured in bright, beautiful colours, meaning going around the place will never feel dull but instead one can feel as if they are exploring themselves.
The Sources of the Earth are found in different locations throughout the place, which is where roaming around will come in handy. Some of these sources are pretty straightforward, while others may be hiding in bushes or behind corners that, while fairly simple, can elude the eye if you don’t search carefully. Some other sources can be only found after unlocking the power ups which the trees grant you, meaning one must not make collecting these sources an absolute priority.
Apart from collecting, in Tasomachi the main gameplay element is reaching the other side in the sacred tree puzzles, where the game will pit a number of different traversal puzzles for you to solve. No puzzle is ever the same as the one before, although the general theme of the puzzle is similar. You may find yourself simply jumping from platform to platform, only to find that these are disappearing after a bunch of seconds.
The multiple puzzles in the game are nothing too complicated, yet they offer a challenge to stimulate your grey matter just enough to feel rewarded upon solving them successfully. Tasomachi even offers a cheap route to skip the puzzle altogether with a teleporter that will take you to the other side immediately, in exchange for coins which you will once again find throughout the map. I do like the inclusion of such a mechanic, although I would not use them myself as I am an avid fan of puzzles.
There are a number of puzzles which one must clear to reach the sacred tree of each place. Each location has a beacon which Yukumo will be able to light once she reaches the other side, and lighting this beacon will also activate a beacon just outside the puzzle’s door.
Lighting all the beacons in the main area will give access to the sacred tree, and the first time you reach this tree it will give you a new power, as well as unblock an area of the map which was previously unaccessible. This second area will permit you to collect even more coins and Sources of the Earth, which will in turn enable you to access the second tree and clear the fog from the particular region.
As one can see from the explanation above, the general scope of Tasomachi is fairly simple to understand, as well as in practice. What in my opinion makes it stand out so much next to other platformers is the distinct art style and shading that it features, as it surely feels a different game altogether. The upbeat music helps Tasomachi make even more of an impression, as although it feels an unnatural combination at first, experiencing it will help you understand just how good the combination is.
Tasomachi: Behind the Twilight has been quite a good surprise for me, as although the gorgeous visuals are the most appealing aspect of the game, its puzzle mechanics are quite refined as well. Jumping feels a little floaty, which may be the only frustrating bit about needing to go from platform to platform, but other than that, Tasomachi surely feels an excellent game to take a break from all the daily stress and hassle and simply take an hour or two to yourself exploring the beautiful world around you.
Grab Tasomachi: Behind the Twilight on Steam here.
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