Tengami is one of those games that can be described as short and sweet. Short, because I finished it in just over an hour; and sweet because I spent the entire time smiling. In fact, I was smiling for a while afterwards, it’s really left quite an impression.
Tengami is brought to us by Nyamyam, a UK based independent, three-man game developer. They came together in 2010 with the simple ambition of making games in a fun and meaningful fashion, and to “bring a little magic into other people’s lives” through their self expression. Inspired by ancient Japanese folk lore and fairy tales, evident in the game art and score, they set out to achieve their goal in 2014 with the release of Tengami – an atmospheric interactive adventure game originally released for iOS, with a Wii U port in November 2014 and a port for Windows on the 15th of January this year.
If you like complex story lines and digging deep into characters and plots, then it’s probably a coin toss as to whether you’ll like Tengami. The story is fairly simple, as is the character and his motivation. Aside from prompts, instructions, and short poems at the end of the level, there is no text to tell the story, so it’s entirely contextual. The basic gist is as follows. You play an unnamed and mostly unremarkable man who has a beautiful blossom tree. At the start of our story his tree is barren, save for one blossom, and he embarks on a quest that takes him to the ends of the world to restore his beloved tree to its flourishing state so that he may, once again, rest beneath its scented canopy. Of course, the details of his motivations, thoughts, and feelings are entirely up to the player, as there are no allusions to these given – we are free to give the story our own context.