Republished on Wednesday 31st August 2022: We're bringing this review back from the archives following the announcement of September's PlayStation Plus lineup. The original text follows.
Toem is an extremely refreshing experience. The scope of the game is rather small, but that's allowed developer Something We Made to double down on its novel premise. The end result is a relaxing, joyful adventure about taking photos and meeting loveable characters at every turn.
You set off on a pilgrimage to find the titular phenomenon atop a mountain. To get there, you'll explore a series of adorable locations, completing little puzzles and objectives in order to earn stamps and a bus ride to the next stop. Presented in black and white, it's an interesting choice for a game about photography, but it's packed with charm and memorable moments despite the lack of colour. Using your camera — which receives a couple of handy upgrades as you progress — you'll need to help out dozens of characters with a wide variety of tasks. You'll be spotting scouts hiding in the woods, helping to fix a generator, and taking a ghost on a date. These objectives are wonderfully creative and never repeat; the entire journey presents you with new things to see and do.
When taking pictures, you'll go from an isometric view to a first-person one, giving you a different perspective on the world and allowing you to see things you otherwise couldn't. You can snap anything you like, and the only restriction is the capacity of your photo album. Each environment is full of cute and fun things to photograph, and there are plenty of secrets to find while you're at it. Even better is that there's no pressure at all — in fact, with the game's chilled out music and ability to backtrack, you'll probably find yourself taking your sweet time just to soak everything in.
It's a very simple game that you can easily wrap up over a weekend, but it's a satisfying, imaginative, and endlessly pleasant adventure while it lasts.