TASOMACHI: Behind the Twilight – Review
Follow Genre: Action, Adventure
Developer: Orbital Express
Publisher: PLAYISM
Platform: PC
Tested on: PC

TASOMACHI: Behind the Twilight – Review

Site Score
5.5
Good: The overall peaceful ambience and its gameplay simplicity
Bad: Does not deliver on its promise of a memorable platformer, Held back by an incoherent soundtrack and blocky graphics, Little content, Repetitive mechanics
User Score
8.0
(1 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 8.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Platformer games are so iconic to the gaming industry that it became hard to come up with innovative formulas and original gameplay solutions for the genre. Tasomachi: Behind the Twilight avoids the issue altogether by declaring that it is not so much about what you are doing, but how you are doing it. And that is perfecting the art of jumping. Again… and again.

Story

In Tasomachi you play as Yukumo, a young girl with an airship and… a dream? If you were looking for a plot, you are not going to really find one here: Yukumo goes around different towns collecting “Sources of Earth”, the game’s main objective, in order to power back her broken airship and dissipate the fog surrounding some towns. However, we are never told where she comes from in the first place, or where she intends to go once her work here is done – or why there is this ominous fog everywhere, when there are no enemies to speak of during gameplay other than badly timed jumps.

Collecting both Sources of the Earth and the game’s currency is all you will be doing through your entire playthrough, an excuse to thoroughly explore the game’s three different main locations and its central hub (a fairly empty house you can fill up with objects purchased using that money you just collect).

Throughout your journey you meet several members of the Nezu Tribe, adorable feline-like creatures who will give you rewards or tell you where you have to go next. You can also find some books laying around, containing one or two lines describing the town you are currently in. Still, none of these really give a sense of lore to where you go, acting more as an unwelcomed distraction. Likewise, crossing or entering certain areas takes you into the same cutscene or a black loading screen that slows down the flow of the game, and there is no real sense of progression as you unlock access to the new locations (which are similar to the point of blending in one another).

All of this said, a super interesting storyline is not necessarily the most important component in a game like Tasomachi; you will not miss its absence too much as you ‘ploing‘ around town.

Graphics

Albeit scenic, Tasomachi’s graphics leave a bit to be desired: selecting its “Highest Resolution” setting does not do all too much for its already blocky and fuzzy look, and this is a very relevant aspect in a game that prides itself on having a “Photo Mode” and different kawaii outfits for its main character. You are left feeling that everything is one step away from being beautiful, especially when you can access higher spots overlooking the towns, but cannot for the life of you take a crisp-enough shot of these.

Sound

When buying Tasomachi you can also acquire its original soundtrack, which hints at how much importance this title gives to its intended “atmospheric and relaxing experience”. Sadly, this is one of the game’s biggest letdowns: the Asian-feel of its scenarios in no way matches its soundtrack, which resembles more what you would get if you searched for random ambient, upbeat music on YouTube: high pitch and electronic sounds on a loop.

The resulting contrast is so blatant and unexpected that it becomes confusing and unpleasant at times (especially when entering the Sanctuary puzzles), and it hurts the otherwise coherent minimalist and peaceful ambiance of the game, based on Eastern aesthetics.

There is, however, one exception: nothing can match that satisfying sound when you pick up the game’s currency for the millionth time!

Gameplay

Tasomachi is a pure 3D platformer where the atmosphere is everything, so much so that its gameplay consists only of jumping and collecting items, with only a handful of variations in abilities you can unlock throughout your playthrough. The controls behind these jumps are mostly easy to master (albeit sometimes stubborn) and the puzzles are self-explanatory, but after the 6th room with moving platforms that you have to jump through everything feels more like a chore than something you want to be doing.

Fortunately, the game is aware of this shortcoming, offering a way to bypass its hardest challenges by using its currency system (which you can easily abuse, since currency respawns in every location once you leave).

This is Tasomachi at its core: it does not want you to work too hard to get at anything, because there is nowhere to get at anyway. It is not about the destination, but the journey. Every location feels empty once you have collected all there is to collect, and there are no controls for running, so you must be content with exploring everything at a leisurely pace, finding joy in those little first-time discoveries – Wait, that poster was not there before… Or was it?

A rushed playthrough can be over in less than 3 hours of gameplay, as the game does not offer enough content for added difficulty or replay value, but you can choose to investigate every nook and cranny and finally discover what happens if you are able to find and light up every lamp in town.

Conclusion

Tasomachi can be a relaxing experience if you are looking for a no-brainer atmospheric platformer to play for a couple of hours, or to gift to your younger sister. Unfortunately, it fails to deliver on its promise of offering a coherent and relaxing experience filled with mystery and novelty. The lack of content could be easily forgiven in a title on Early Access, but that is not the case here, so even die-hard fans of the genre will have a hard time feeling fulfilled when they finally manage to collect enough shinnies to own every outfit in the game, fix their airship and fly into nowhere.

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Rating: 8.0/10 (1 vote cast)
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TASOMACHI: Behind the Twilight – Review, 8.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating
ChiChi


Freelance writer and translator who likes to feed in her free time. If you'd like to chat, send me an e-mail to ritajbp@gmail.com!

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