The horror genre in video games has seen something of a resurgence over the past few years. Games like ‘Resident Evil 7: Biohazard’, ‘Outlast 2’ and ‘Layers of Fear’ have garnered significant critical and commercial acclaim, and have also received rave reviews from gamers for the way they leverage modern video game graphics and lighting technology to create some of the most photorealistic horror experiences in a video game ever.
Released earlier this year, indie horror game ‘Tamashii’ is not much like any of those erstwhile titles. Instead of harnessing the power of modern computer graphics, this game goes back to the very roots of the genre with no voice acting, no action set pieces and a much simpler visual presentation. However, despite being a relatively short journey presented in the supposedly benign 2D pixel art style, ‘Tamashii’ stays with you long after you’ve put down the controller. Instead of trying to shock you all the time, ‘Tamashii’ plays with psychological themes, occult imagery and body horror leaving you not just petrified, but also deeply disturbed. With the console release date of the game approaching fast, read on to find out all we know about the new indie horror sensation.
What is Tamashii About?
In ‘Tamashii’, the player is tasked by a primordial being to free an ancient temple from the insidious influence of a sibylline entity that is wreaking havoc inside. The official story synopsis on the game’s page reads: “An ancient entity seeking help, a Witch, an unnamed soul and a Twisted Temple. A dark tale about inner discoveries set in a distorted and perverted world. You have been summoned by an ancient entity seeking help; He needs you to discover the evil source that hides inside his twisted temple and ensure his legacy.”
Of course, being a horror game ‘Tamashii’ employs the usual tricks and flicks typical of the genre such as jump scares and copious amounts of blood, flesh and gore to shock the player. However, ‘Tamashii’ goes way beyond what most horror games are capable of. Crucially, ‘Tamashii’ possesses the two qualities that separate monotonous, tedious horror from a truly bone chilling experience – unpredictability and a willingness to build tension.
Unlike so many of the horror experiences that go for cheap jump scares and loud noises to elicit a response from the subject, ‘Tamashii’ chooses, instead, to hold back. It lets you soak in the oppressive atmosphere as you navigate through the dark halls populated by all manner of eldritch horrors. In the distance, you can hear gut wrenching cries of pain, death grunts, squeals and a number of other sounds that leave you with a deep feeling of uneasiness.
The walls of the temple are populated by distressing Lovecraftian imagery that feels all too alive. A VHS like screen glitch effect only serves to emphasize the feeling of preternatural perversion. ‘Tamashii’ slowly lets the tension build up to a crescendo before confronting you with a well-timed jump scare or a horrible abomination to battle. One thing is for certain – this is not a game for the squeamish or the faint of heart.
The game also features multiple dialogue choices to choose from during certain key sections. While these choices do not affect the story progression in any tangible manner, they can provide some fascinating insight into the hellish world of ‘Tamashii’.
‘Tamashii’ is a horror puzzle platformer inspired by old school Japanese horror and the brutally difficult platformers of years past. The basic gameplay mechanics center around two-dimensional movement and double jumping to navigate the levels while periodically tackling increasingly tricky puzzle sections. While the puzzles may start out easy, they can get considerably challenging as you use the game’s unique cloning mechanic to figure out how to beat the level. This allows the player to create up to three ephemeral clones to aid in solving some of the more onerous challenges.
The game also features some extremely grueling boss battles against a variety of uniquely unsettling creatures. Since you are prone to dying very quickly in ‘Tamashii’, it will likely take you multiple attempts to get past some of the more difficult levels the game has to offer.
Speaking of difficulty, if you desire an even greater level of challenge, ‘Tamashii’ has you covered. The game offers alternate paths at the end of each level, with one of them being considerably more challenging to overcome. However, if you do manage to make it through to the next level you will be rewarded with bonus items and unlocks. Besides the optional boss levels, ‘Tamashii’ also features a number of hidden secrets and locations for the enterprising player to discover. All things considered, ‘Tamashii’ takes anywhere between 2-4 hours to finish to completion.
Tamashii Crew: Who’s Behind It?
‘Tamashii’ is developed and published by Brazilian indie developer and one-man team, Vikintor. Vikintor is best known for the 80’s arcade like game ‘Estigma’, as well as free to play minimalist video game ‘Ritualistic Madness’.
Tamashii Release Date: When and Where Can I Play It?
‘Tamashii’ is already available to play on PC, first launching in February 2019 on Itch, followed by a Steam release on 5 March 2019. The game is also set to make its console debut on Xbox One on December 24, 2019, followed by the Nintendo Switch release on December 25, 2019.
The trailer for ‘Tamashii’ features short clips of some particularly disconcerting imagery from the game itself. You can check it out here:
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