One of the more odd showcases from the Wholesome Game Showcase is TOEM. TOEM is a photo-based adventure game by indie developer Something We Made, where you navigate small landscapes, take photographs, and capture special moments on your camera.
TOEM is based a bit on Scandinavian culture and beliefs, though the visual style is a mix of 2-D and 3-D drawings come to life. Each of these landscapes is inspired by real-life locations, from urban settings to rural landscapes to mountainous ranges.
Unlike most adventure games, the point of TOEM goes beyond its primary goal; reaching the highest mountain peak in the world to experience the phenomenon of TOEM. Other aspects are more relaxing; photography is the main draw, but players can also go fishing in some areas, relax and listen to music with headphones, even travel to these locations using a massive bus. It is a casual vacation wrapped around a world filled with goofy characters.
Something We Made encourages players to "stop and smell the flowers" in TOEM, despite them having an objective to achieve. It is a wholesome message that does come across in TOEM. Its art direction is simple, a monochromatic color scheme and hand-drawn style that helps it stand out with the isometric perspective.
Much of the game seems simple enough, with the player meeting colorful characters in oddball environments and take dynamic photos of the world around them. Emotionally, TOEM is going for something simple to really sell it's basic concepts for an emotional impact. The memories collected by photographing them are emblematic of that; miniature moments in the players journey as they literally "stop and smell the flowers" with their camera skills in focus make a lasting impression, something I am sure Something We Made was going for.
Hopefully, the impression lasts when TOEM releases in Spring 2021. Until then, TOEM is in active development, with a full year to go before the final release.