All right, I’ve given another Ludum Dare 26 game a go. This time, it’s TOOM by Mike Kasprzak and Derek Laufman. Overall, I’d call it pretty slow and highly nonsensical, but still worth your clicks, if only to experience the way the camera works as you move around the screen. Also, it looks fantastic, thanks to solid animation, a phantasmagoric color scheme, and pixels that shine with character, even if many of the items ultimately aren’t used.
In TOOM, you control a generic-looking working man–he’s got a tie and either a name badge or pocket protecter thing going on with his button-down shirt–on what I have to assume is his day off. His apartment consists of one long room, which sits high up in the trees on metal stilts, swaying lightly in the wind. It’s obviously future tech, and so I’m sure no one is worried about large gusts or mindless lumberjacks, but you’d never catch me relaxing way up so high. You can click around on different items in the room, and at the far right end of it is something called a Hyper Tube, which you can’t use just yet. Though not explicitly said, the goal is to use that tube. As you click around and open cabinets and trash cans in search of clues, a few items get added to your inventory. Eventually, after all your hard work–I won’t spoil the step-by-step solution though I will say that not everyone is a fan of frozen friends–you are able to use the Hyper Tube. Cue black screen with the word FIN on it. All in all, took me about ten minutes to get through.
My two biggest problems with TOOM are as follows: 1) the ambient music loops, but not endlessly, cutting back to the beginning of the song in a jarring manner after a minute or two, which even causes the game to stutter for a half-second and 2) the inventory and how to use the items within it was not easy to grok. In fact, I think I just got lucky most of the time, constantly clicking on literally everything I could. Guess I’m use to being able to click an item in the inventory and then click what to use it on. Wanted more, even if it was just a text description, mostly because I’m not sure why that thing that was in the freezer was in the freezer. Fairly small complaints, really.
Even after completing the game, I don’t fully understand its name…wait, is the joke that TOOM backwards is moot, which can mean “of little or no practical value or meaning.” Is that it? If so, I don’t think that’s entirely the case here and the developers might be a bit too hard on themselves, but when your reward for finally figuring out exactly what each item is used for and getting into that Hyper Tube is a fart and toilet flush…well, yeah, it does feel kind of unessential in the long haul.