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The demo for Toem is some excellent photography-based adventuring

A point & snap adventure game

I'm happy to report that I've had a successful Steam Next Fest already. I promised myself I'd play at least one of the over 700 demos that are free on Steam until Tuesday—and I did. I've actually played three now, but Toem has been my favorite by far. It's an adventure game about taking photos and helping folks along your way to visit a magical phenomenon. In just over an hour, I went to a bear rave, played games with ghosts, and paid for my bus pass via stamp rally. It was a grand time and I'm keen on playing the full release.

Toem definitely feels like playing a classic adventure game. It's made up of small, connected areas for you to explore, full of goofy characters who all seem to need you to do something for them. Rather than pointing and clicking item puzzles though, Toem has you solve everything by pointing and snapping photos.

The first main area that the demo has you play through is a forest surrounding a hotel. A local troop of scout kids want you to show them photos of natural flora. A hotel manager wants you to take a snazzy new photo of the building for marketing purposes. A few kids challenge you to a bit of hide and seek via viewfinder.

It all tickles my brain in that classic quest 'em up style. When getting a task from a character it was always a toss up between the satisfying "oh yes, I remember seeing that!" and tucking a thing in the back of my mind if I'd not encountered it yet. A suspicious character in the woods, huh? I'll keep an eye out.

Toem demo - A community card with several overlapping stamps. A quest log on the left lists tasks like "Become a flower" and "Photo challenge #2"

All of Toem's little questing tasks are tracked on your Community Card, where you'll get to slap a stamp for every good deed you achieve. It's one of my favorite little details, how you get to choose the placement of each stamp as you earn it. Mine are all messy and overlapping, which I enjoy.

Anyhow, I'll avoid spoiling too much of the fun for you. There are lots of little surprises just in the first area. Some of the tasks I can't complete yet in the demo and that's made me all the more eager to see them through. What do the ghosts want? I've gotta know.

As with everything else available in Steam Next Fest, Toem is expected to launch sometime before the end of this year. You can try the demo over here on Steam.

If you need more tips on what to try, Alice B has a list of her 11 favorite Steam Next Fest demos.

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Lauren Morton