I had seen some brief videos and screenshots of this quirky little title prior to playing it, but I had no idea how happy it would make me. It’s like someone has distilled a game down to its purest form, stripped back all the nonsense and faff, culled the padding and left you with smiles and delight.
In TOEM, you play a strange little fellow who goes on a journey to see a magnificent, possibly transcendent event. On his way, he documents creatures and does lighthearted quests using his trusty camera.
You meet mysterious characters, visit a few different locales and generally just have a jolly good time. Nothing is too involved, nothing is stressful and everything makes you grin from ear to ear.
TOEM PS5 Review
Each locale has a required number of missions to complete in order to progress. Each mission you complete earns you a stamp and the bus driver requires a certain amount of stamps to transport you to the next destination. That is the whole game: no collectables, no skill trees and zero unnecessary nonsense.
Indeed, TOEM is so streamlined, it’s like a beautifully cooked steak. It may not be flashy or innovative but it knows what is and it is great at it. In essence, TOEM is magnificently and beautifully elegant.
Anyone who has played a video game before will slide straight into TOEM’s monochrome world. You just meander from one uncanny quest to the next, helping folks with their quandaries with very little bother from anyone.
There are hardly any buttons to learn, no complex game systems to master and everyone from my nan to my youngest son would be able to play with no instruction. TOEM is such an inclusive and rewarding game for anyone willing to give it a bash.
Short But Oh So Sweet
That’s the other thing TOEM does so well – it values your time. You can nip on for a few quests or even stay on for longer stints but it is not one of those games where if you left it a while you would never forget what you are doing.
TOEM expects very little from the player but gives so much in return. I completed 100% of the game in under three hours but it was three hours of elation. I spent a little longer mopping up Trophies and other bits and bobs but the game’s warm nature meant I was delighted to do so.
On the presentation front, both TOEM’s visuals and sound work perfectly slot next to the simplicity of the game to create a warm jigsaw of contentment. The music is uplifting, the graphics are beautiful and all these ingredients create an experience like no other.
The whole game is monochrome and each area is a semi-isometric stage for you to explore. There are secrets to find, people to help, and it all looks and sounds so friendly and delicate. You can tell this game was made with love and it drips out of every pore.
Pleasingly, I encountered no performance issues to speak of. I cannot find a single thing that annoyed me, irked me or took any sort of gloss away from the experience. It runs flawlessly, and while it hardly pushes the PS5 hardware, any performance issues would quickly detract from what makes this game so brilliant, so it’s important to note it nonetheless.
TOEM Is A Breath of Fresh Air
TOEM will certainly not be everyone’s cup of tea. Having said that, I recommend you give it a go, as you will find a truly remarkable, streamlined tale of heartwarming proportions. It looks amazing, runs brilliantly and will have you smiling the whole way through. TOEM respects your time, respects your happiness and I am so glad I got to play it.
TOEM is a game like no other and in a world of recycled triple-A shooty-shooty bang-bang offerings, I am so happy we still have people making games like this. TOEM deserves not only a standing ovation but it deserves your time and effort. Bravo, TOEM, bravo.
Review copy provided by the publisher.