Cheap Shot: Totemo

Most puzzle games tend to be designed for the superhuman among us: those who have enjoyed puzzle games for years and have thus honed their skills at identifying patterns. Those games are often designed to be ridiculously difficult so the mutant target market can still enjoy them.

Totemo is a much easier game, designed with a good difficulty curve for those normally confounded by the puzzle genre. If in the past you have found yourself enjoying the first 15 percent of a puzzle game, and then experience sudden self-loathing as you fail repeatedly at Herculean brain-tasks, then Totemo is for you.

Cheer up, little blobs!

Tasked with freeing spirits who have been stuck in our world, the player must bind them to a totem three at a time, giving them the strength to leave this world. The spirits take the onscreen form of adorable, scared goo-balls who somehow had the capacity to inspire sympathy in us.

This isn’t so difficult, given what softies we are, but the point is that the presentation is handled quite well in this game. From the odd main character who waxes nostalgic about the glory days of the world since passed, to the particle effects and the peaceful fireflies floating along in the background, this game looks great. It may not be the flashiest art or the highest tech, but it’s calculated minimalism.

The real story here is the difficulty. It’s likely that hardcore puzzle fans will blow through this one without much trouble, but those who have traditionally been alienated by these types of games will likely find it to be an enjoyable experience.

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