TAMASHII / DEVELOPER: VIKINTOR / PUBLISHER: DIGERATI / PLATFORM: PC, PS4, SWITCH (REVIEWED), XBOX ONE / RELEASE DATE: 25TH DECEMBER
Tamashii is a horror-themed puzzle platformer with a pretty simple story, where a masked child enter a temple to cleanse it of evil. The temple is filled with chambers that you'll need to visit in order to take down a variety of bosses, and each of these rooms is laid out in such a way that navigating its spaces is going to be much easier said than done.
Your main obstacle comes in the form of block puzzles, where hitting marked icons will affect something somewhere in the level. As the game goes on, more and more block types are introduced, and getting your head around how and when to activate everything - and sometimes even how to get to the blocks in the first place - can be incredibly tricky. To help you, you're able to leave a limited amount of static clones of yourself around each level which can operate blocks on your behalf if you get the timing right. Once you get the hang of things, you might find that it's a fairly short game (2-3 hours), but there are alternate paths to find which contain even more devious challenges, as well as time trial and score attack modes, so there's some replayability.
The pixel art graphics are mostly all in black, white and red, with the odd bit of extra colour here and there, coming across like a satanic Japanese take on a cross between H.R. Giger and H.P. Lovecraft. The soundtrack is equally sinister, with lots of long foreboding synth notes and sparse electronic beats. One particularly horrible (in a good way) boss level has what sounds like a dentist's drill whirring away while you're running away from a demonic spider-legged skull in a room full of intestines and other assorted innards. Nasty. There are also some wonderful jump scares that are likely to take you completely by surprise, both in their timing and execution (but to say anything else would spoil it too much!).
If you're into horror and enjoy bending your brain with some intricately-designed puzzles, don't hesitate to give Tamashii a look. Its unsettling (and sometimes full-on gross-out) vibe make it stand out from other puzzle platformers, and it's certainly a game that you won't forget in a hurry.