The platformer gaming genre has been starving for content these past couple of months, but Tasomachi: Behind the Twilight successfully grabs our sight with its 3D mystical world and unique Eastern fantasy twist. The game was previously released on PC some months prior but has now obtained a PS4 and Nintendo Switch release.
As an independently developed adventure game created by designer norcas, Tasomachi: Behind the Twilight is a different kind of platformer that allows players to freely discover its calming yet spectacular world in the role of a young girl, Yukumo. In order to fix your beloved airship after a sudden flash of light caused it to malfunction, you started a marvelous journey to the mysterious town covered by the Twilight Mist, and have to collect hidden Sources of Earth to restore the town’s lost brilliance.
▍Story…? Eh, Not Exactly, Not Quite.
After the traveling incidents, Yukumo manages to safely land in a mysterious town, one where the fog makes it seem that even time has come to a standstill. There, she meets Kogara, one of the people of the Nezu Tribe, who tells her that in order to fix her airship, she will need to activate the blessings of the Sacred Trees across the Silent Valley, as well as collect the 90 lantern-like items known as the Sources of Earth.
The plot doesn’t seem to be the main focal point of Tasomachi: Behind the Twilight, far from it. It just serves as a preface of sorts. So much so that it’s just text-based with rather simplistic-looking textboxes, and no voice acting, not even with beep speech, which is commonly used in some indie titles.
The game’s general structure is that there are three areas with Source of Earth scattered around and you need to find them all. With stunning visuals and great use of color, the game is at its best when you freely explore its world slowly while enjoying the tranquil ambiance. The peaceful environment certainly brings a breath of new air without pushing you to clear a particular stage in rush. The basic control is also easy to grasp when Yukumo can only move and jump at the very beginning of your journey, But she will get an additional movement ability in each of the game’s three main areas after you get familiar with the systems.
▍Collect Sources of the Earth and Repair Your Airship!
in Tasomachi: Behind the Twilight, Sources of the Earth can be found almost everywhere across Silent Valley, and to progress forward, you must collect all 90 Sources of Earth so that Yukumo can repair her airship. They are obtainable in various ways, from using jump pads to teleportation points to even being buried deep in the ground.
Some Sources of the Earth will require a specific ability to be unlocked before you can get them. And there’s absolutely no mini-map to mark them down later, so my pro-tip would be for you to remember what ability would be necessary, make a mental note, and when you get an ability later on that might help, go back to that certain place.
▍Simple Yet Varifying Challenges
In each area, you’ll find the Sacred Tree Temples, which are platforming sections that you must prevail in order to light up the candles to open the main room and activate the tree’s blessing. Their challenges range from jumping between platforms to one where you must time your jumps so that you don’t fall head-first into the river.
There is an option, however, to utilize 20 coins in order to activate a teleporter that will take you to the end of the room, therefore skipping the platforming entirely. However, even a platformer beginner like me had almost no issues with the difficulty of the stages. Yes, it may require a few tries before getting to the end of the room, but all in all, the stages of Tasomachi: Behind the Twilight are quite easy to tackle. The collision detection can be a bit wonky, but it won’t be a huge bother.
▍No Auto-Save Maybe A Problem
Tasomachi: Behind the Twilight has absolutely no auto-saving function, and it is rather possible to get yourself stuck due to how wonky collision detection can sometimes be. In those cases, your only choice is to go back to the Title Screen, and then start again, losing your progress.
To save, you must pray at the shrines marked by a green swirl. It takes just a couple of seconds, and the game recommends you do that often, or you might end up like me in the image below, where Yukumo got stuck between the airship’s insides, and I ended up losing my progress which consisted of two Sources of Earth. Granted, they weren’t hard to find again, but ouch.
▍Is Tasomachi: Behind the Twilight Worth a Try?
Tasomachi: Behind the Twilight is a nice platformer, but one that is certainly very short. I’m not an expert at platformers and yet managed to clear what is essentially a third of the game in my first hour of gameplay. Sure, the platforming sections do get harder and trickier as you go, but I feel one can confidently finish this game in a spare afternoon.
But that isn’t so bad, actually. There are many people who might prefer a shorter, more chill-paced title as opposed to one where it will take you hundreds of hours to even get to the end of a single stage. And even though there is some wonky collision, as well as some texture popping, even on a PS5, I found those points minor and don’t necessarily hinder the experience too much.