Toem – Review

In Toem, we explore wholesome locales, take pictures, and solve quests. Does it end up with a finger in the frame? Here’s what we think.

One of my favourite activities in Shin’en Multimedia’s The Touryst was to solve the game’s photography challenges. It’s a clever take on using the game’s photo mode: figure out the clues, explore, take pictures, and see if you got it right. Toem is a game built entirely around that photo mode, and it’s a picture perfect photography game.

Toem screenshot

In Toem, you play as an unnamed character who’s encouraged by their granny to seek out a mysterious phenomenon known only as ‘Toem’. No one seems to talk about it or suggest what it might be, so it’s up to you to figure it out by travelling to the mountain peak in the Kiiruberg mountains.

To get there, though, you have to make your way through four areas, each of which requires you to collect enough stars before you can get a free bus pass to the next area. To get a star, you have to help the people who live there. This is where your dynamic-zoom camera comes in, because you’re going to be helping people by taking pictures.

Getting to the Toem, is of course, a token objective. This game is very much more about the journey than the destination. It’s about exploring such place as Stanhamn, a seaside town with beaches and a hydro plant, or Logville, a big and busy city. For each major zone you visit, you’ll explore various bite-sized areas filled with characters and props.

Many of the characters will offer you a star for helping them out, but you can also earn stars by completing photography challenges or bringing the right object. The game’s minimalistic visuals extend to the world and characters as well. Each character speaks only about as much as necessary, but not without flavour. Surprises await you constantly, such as the strange submarine that wants you to take pictures of a suspicious character, or the family of balloons that’s lost the birthday kid to the wind.

Toem screenshot

Toem, the game, is built to feel tactile and analogue. This much is clear from the old-school camera and your music player, the ‘Hidelady’, which plays cassette tapes that are unlocked as you explore. Every action is accompanied by a pleasing sound, whether it’s the clop-clop-clop of your wooden clogs, or the squeaking of your sneakers, or the very satisfying stamp that you get to use when you earn a star.

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Even if the black-and-white graphics may seem stark and colorless, the world they depict is kind, wholesome, and cute. There’s never a dull moment, or a sad one for that matter, making the game perfect for cozy times.

My chief concern with games like these is getting overwhelmed with talking to people and exploring areas, but Toem handles this very deftly. The small areas are easier to mentally process, and after exploring from one area to another enough, you will learn to form a mental map, which is something I’ve always enjoyed doing. Furthermore, the game encourages you to keep your eyes open at all times, which means that you really soak in the environment you’re in. Whenever you see an object you haven’t seen before, you’ll consider photographing it, or at least trying to remember if someone needed it. Nothing in the game feels wasted.

Toem screenshot

After you’ve got a lay of the land, it’s very satisfying to start wrapping up your quests. You’ll encounter one a-ha moment after another as you figure out the clues of what people need. This sense of satisfaction kept me in the game’s areas for far longer than I needed to be, because completing quests, helping people, and earning those delectable stamps is a joy. The quests aren’t terribly difficult, and they’re great to figure out with friends, which makes Toem a fantastic game to stream or otherwise play with a buddy.

Toem is a warm, welcoming adventure that tests your observation, photography, and creativity. The challenges may be light, but the impression this game leaves on you might just stick for a long time.

Developer: Something We Made
Country of Origin: Sweden
Publisher: Something We Made
Release Date: September 17, 2021 (PC, Mac, PS5, Switch)

This review is based on a copy of the game provided by the developer. The PC version of the game was played for this review of Toem.

Thank you for reading this review of Toem! For other interesting articles on Into Indie Games, check out the links below:



Toem is a warm, welcoming adventure that tests your observation, photography, and creativity. The challenges may be light, but the impression this game leaves on you might just stick for a long time.

This Article was written by: Rahul Shirke

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