There’s a lot about this game that I find frustrating, not the least of which is the underlying genre — Brutal Precision Platformer — is not one I find particularly compelling. So when I say that the gameplay makes up for all of it, that means the gameplay is fuckin’ FANTASTIC.
Page 3, Game 16: TAMASHII by vikintor
An Entity has summoned thee. Something has defiled its temple. Thou art tasked with finding the source of the corruption.
You will find this corruption via running around solving platforming puzzles. This is generally a matter of just finding the exit for a given level. However, before long, you’re going to start dealing with keys. Stand in a certain place, and the states of various blocks will toggle between “existing” and “not”. Stand in other places, and the door will open itself.
Naturally, since you can only be in one place, you can pretend to be somewhere by dropping what the game refers to as a “clone” behind.
Those little chattering skull bastards will trigger whatever key they’re on for as long as they continue to exist.
Also, in one of the game’s many delightful graphical touches, the more clones you drop (up to the max of three) the wonkier the resolution on your screen gets. Suddenly, the game feels like you’re playing it on a shitty old TV. I don’t know why this makes me so happy, but it makes me incredibly happy.
From there, you’re free to jump all around the level and try not to die. The level will make this very, very difficult.
Make it all the way through to the end, and you’ll face the level’s boss monster! Figuring out how to defeat it is part of the game. As is dealing with the psychological horror of seeing the thing.
Clear out enough levels and you win!
As much as I enjoyed it, this is not one I played through to the end.
Let’s get this out of the way: I didn’t play it through to the end because there’s something wonky in the save mechanism. There were levels I’m QUITE certain I cleared that the game wanted me to play again — I think. Beating the levels the first time was fun. But as challenging as they are, beating them AGAIN is a chore.
Assuming you can figure out where in the connecting temple you need to go to get to them. Simply finding where you’re supposed to go next was often an unwelcome challenge. The whole “Wait, did I do this one already?” feeling wasn’t helped by the fact that my high score on every level was always pegged at 0.
My big problem with this game is that it makes it too difficult to get to the fun parts.
But by the unholy spirits of the underworld, the fun parts are FUN.
The platforming in this game is brutal and merciless, but even though that’s not my jam, I still had a great time playing it. It’s smooth, it’s fast, it’s POLISHED. This is a game where you’re going to fail a lot, so the game lets you fail FAST. All right, looks like to do this, I’m going to need to plant a clone on the red key, which is behind a whole bunch of bullshit that will kill me. I’m gonna need to hit the jump like THIS, dodge the bullet like THIS, jump over the– shit, fucked up the timing. All right, jump like THIS, dodge the bullet like THIS, WAIT, jump over the buzzsaw blades, step lively, all right, I’m there! Now what?
The game feels FAIR. It’s hard as hell, but it genuinely feels like you have the tools you need to solve the problems at hand.
What’s more, it looks fantastic. I honestly don’t know what to call this art style — Giger-occult? It’s drippy and creepy and cruel and hellish. A better reviewer than I could no doubt pin down exactly what it’s called and where it’s coming from; I’m a basic bitch in more ways than just my taste in games. The game feels dark in a way that’s unique and genuinely unsettling. I fuckin’ love it.
When Tamashii gets the hell out of its own way, it’s a fantastic game. I’m glad I played it, frustrating bits and all. Definitely recommended.
What occult madness awaits me in the next title?
Page 41, Game 27: Book Reprocessing Machine #5 by Tenbear
“A game about turning old books into new poems”
Ah, poetry. SERIOUS madness.