La TOHU (not to be confused with Touhou) is set in an imaginary world where people live on floating fish planets. On one of these planets, a sacred engine is, well, almost everything. But one day, the mysterious bonnet shows up out of nowhere, crashes the bike and then takes off without a rest. The mechanic, a little girl named Girl and her mechanical alter ego Koobus, still has to fix it. To repair the engine, she must traverse a vast expanse and enlist the help of people of terrifying proportions.
La TOHU’s artistic style is instantly memorable, not to mention absolutely charming. All graphics are hand drawn in a style that reminds me of the picture books of my youth, with maybe a little Rayman. The girl and Cubus don’t really talk to each other outside of character chatter, but they both travel the world with a lot of character. The girl is cheerful and curious, not to mention sometimes caricatural, as she pulls small things out of thin air, while Cubus is willing and confident, lifting and pulling heavy objects with a smile.
If you’ve ever played Machinarium, La TOHU might look a little familiar to you, both because of the general design of the puzzles and the sometimes sudden jumps in logical difficulty. As I mentioned earlier, the beginning of the game went pretty well for me, with a few simple swap puzzles and a small physics puzzle involving a small cannon. Then suddenly the game asked me to solve a closed puzzle, a task that took me almost 30 minutes. This game may seem cute and innocent, but these are not puzzles you can tackle half-drunk; you’ll need all your brainpower for this one. Sometimes a simple and imaginative design can make the process a little more complicated than it should be. For example, some puzzles require specially timed mouse clicks that for some reason don’t always register, or they just have really stupid solutions that I wouldn’t have found if the game hadn’t given them to me.
By the way, La TOHU has a system of clues that allows you to visually walk through each room (but you have to unlock the clue with a little mini-game, so don’t think the game gives you that for free). It’s great for models like me because the directions are so simple that they’re not always useful when you really need them, as in the case of the puzzle mentioned above.
I have the distinct impression that I do not belong to La TOHU’s target audience. I know people who love this kind of puzzle games, if you are such a person, you can definitely have fun with this. If you’re not a mainstay like me, there are plenty of little sizzling moments in this game that will give you that jolt of endorphins you’ve been looking for, and the always cute and mysterious artistic style will make you smile even when the going gets tough. Given the cute art style, this can be a fun way to spend a day or two if you have kids, but be prepared that after the initial puzzles, you’ll have a lot of puzzles for them to solve.
La TOHU will be liberated on the 28th. January 2021 for PC on Steam, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and Google Stadia.
Watch the official trailer of La TOHU below.
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