E3: Tomak: Save the Earth: Love Story impressions
[05.22.01] » Ever wanted to date a severed head in a flowerpot? Yeah, neither had we. But thanks to the twisted vision of one Korean developer, you can.
Kentia Hall is where you can see the evolution of games in action. As with life, most mutations are harmful, and the games will never survive on the open market. Every once in a while, however, a mutation arises that lets a game stand above the pack and thrive. Tomak: Save the Earth: Love Story (henceforth simply "Tomak") is a combination life/love simulation starring a girl's head in a flowerpot. A true Darwinian success, it immediately grabbed the GIA's attention. Like most mutations, at first glance it appears horrendously freakish. But with the right publisher, we feel that this game could be huge.
Before we get into the gameplay, we should really post developer Seed9's press materials; they do a great job of explaining the storyline and gameplay. If you want to skip to the end of the materials, there will be a brief recap. To wit:
Tomak: Save the Earth
I guess you've already said, "what the heck is this head doing in the pot?"
Ha-ha, please don't be shocked.
The game 'Tomak' is not that brutal like you imagine it.
On the contrary, it's a beautiful Love Story.
We have to save the Earth!! Why is that?
All the Gods are about to sweep us out of this world!!
They think that there are no True Love on the Earth.
Well, that made them very very furious!
Unless you prove that True Love still exists !!
Yes, we are all in the history..I mean they will kill us all!
We have only one more chance to save ourselves from the extinction.
Show your True Love!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Oh, back to the head in the pot thing..^^;
Well, she is quite pretty, isn't she? yeah~ yeah~ no body...just a head.
Who is she? Her name is Evian, the Goddess of Love.
Sadly, she was the only God who believed that the true love is still with us.
So, she came down to save us by proving the True Love with you.
But there was a deal with other Gods. It was....
"Evian, you can go down. But! Only your head."
Still not getting it? Think about it. She is the Goddess of Love!
Who wouldn't fall in love with the beautiful Goddess of Love?
If you see the one of ending stories,
you will see the full(?)Evian....
and say, "Oh~ My~ God~~~!!!!"
Yup! She is that beautiful.
She is the only hope we have!!
You and Evian together need to prove....
well......the true love...
What does Tomak mean?
It's not really easy to put it into writing.
The word as it is means 'piece'.
Well, but it's also the nickname of Evian.
Now, you are going to feed her, kiss her, touch her,
take her for airing, to the theater, to the mall, etc.
Whenever you do something to her, she will show you how she likes it
with REAL voice and lots of facial expressions like~
happy, arrogant, tired, upset, coy, etc...
If you treat her good and fall in love with her..
(which is not that easy, though.)
One day, You will be the super hero who saved the Earth~~
-An amalgamation of the two basic distinctive genres of life/love simulation
-A flexible system which allows customization of the main character (!!)
-A flexible system which allows customization of the main character, Goddess'Evian'according to the player's tastes at the beginning of the game
-Countless numbers of sprites combined to create an amazing graphic interface, enabling the viewing of a natural, changing face
-Supports Wall-Paper Capture Functions through the Photo-sticker machine within the game
To recap: the gods want to destroy the Earth because "true love" no longer exists. (Perhaps by sending "more plagues like AIDS.") But the Goddess of Love, Evian, still believes in humans. To prove that "true love" exists, she comes to Earth. However, the other gods only let her bring her head, to prove that what another feels for her is love, not lust. Evian's head is in a flowerpot. You have only three years to get Evian to fall in love with you before the gods destroy the world.
Basically, Tomak rocks. The game is divided into two distinct portions: interacting with Evian, and the outside world. Developer Seed9 was kind enough to provide us with an English-language playable demo, which quickly became our most coveted free CD of the show. The Evian portion plays like a virtual pet; she has different meters and needs that must be met: intellect, sensibility, charm, goodwill, trust, strength, thirst, hunger, fatigue, and stress. You can raise and lower these meters by interacting with her. Let your fingers do the talking: you can caress, pinch, beat, kiss, and tickle her. Evian can eat a number of different foods and drink water, specialty drinks, or alcohol. She may just be a head, but she needs her exercise: breathing and blinking exercises keep her in tip-top shape. To relax, Evian can read a book, draw a picture (holding the pencil in her mouth), or sing a song. We're sure she has a beautiful singing voice, but her lyrics could use some work ("two ants! Yeah~ two pants! Yeah~").
You can also keep Evian comfortable by giving her a variety of hairstyles, hats, and earrings; moving her from the desk to the window, the garden, or the basement; and letting her sleep. Juggling all these different meters can be tough, and keeping the master "affection" meter on the rise is difficult. Compounding the problem is that everytime you leave the house and come back, Evian has changed her personality, likes, and dislikes. Each of the six distinct "personalities" has its own dialogue, graphics, and wants. By giving Evian six distinct moods, each with its own unique (and frequently contradictory) likes and dislikes, developer Seed 9 has become the first game designer to accurately capture the tone of interactions with a normal human female.
In between dealing with Evian, you can leave the house and travel to different locations: the theater, market, cafe, park, and game zone. In classic dating simulator fashion, each of these locations has their own well-endowed female to woo. In the demo version, they spend most of their time asking you to purchase the registered version. In the full game, you can flirt with them, as well. You can successfully complete the game by getting together with one of these girls; it's not necessary to end up with Evian to prove the existence of True Love.
Can Tomak succeed with an American audience? Unfortunately, Seed9 has not yet found a U.S. publisher. Still, after spending just a few minutes with Tomak, the GIA are true believers. It's strange enough to get people's attention, and the core gameplay seems varied and solid enough for a dating game. It's like Tokimeki Memorial, The Sims, and Boxing Helena all in one well-produced anime package. Tomak is coming out for the PC, and we can hardly wait. There are currently no plans to port Tomak to a consoles, but if they did, we'd buy those versions too. If any U.S. publishers are interested in Tomak, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll put you in contact with Seed9.