Save Mr. Tofu from a life of…being tofu
This weekend on the PAX East show floor sat the unassuming A Tofu Tail, a mobile puzzle game that draws from Japanese folklore. The premise is simple — you play as Mr. Tofu, once a human in a past life, but now unfortunately transformed into a block of tofu by the mischievous Kitsune. To escape his misfortune, Mr. Tofu must traverse various floating levels in an attempt to confront the mysterious fox that trapped him in the first place.
A Tofu Tail is a fairly straightforward block puzzle game in which each level contains various types of terrain that Mr. Tofu can’t approach unless he has absorbed the right elemental orb in advance. For example, if the tofu is currently absorbing water it cannot pass across grass or any other element on the board. It’s a pretty straightforward concept at first, but definitely gets tricky.
Strategizing in advance is the key to success unless you’re a huge fan of trial and error, though you can redo your last move or completely start from scratch if things go too awry. There’s only one correct solution through each path so careful thought needs to be taken before leaping forward.
As you progress through the levels, other mythological beasts appear from time to time that offer different mechanics. An ogre might wander around the level via calculated moves, blocking your path occasionally, while flying beasts will move you two blocks forward. This adds an additional layer of strategy and difficulty, which I appreciated as it’s fairly easy for puzzle games to get old quick.
A Tofu Tail knows how to have fun with its colorful art, Japanese mythos, and pop culture elements (like disco-themed levels). I had fun playing it, although at times it was a bit too difficult for my tastes. It comes out for Steam and Android later this year for 10 bucks, and the team has plans for other devices in the future.