Giant Bomb Review23 Comments
Tomena Sanner Review3
by Jeff Gerstmann on
Tomena Sanner is a silly little game. You'll burn out on it quickly, but it's cheap enough that you might be totally OK with that.
Tomena Sanner is a "one-button wai wai action game" from Konami for WiiWare and iPhone. Not that it really matters, but my cursory (and probably incorrect) search engine work defines "wai wai" as something lively, like the sound of children playing. It's not an entirely bankrupt description, as the biggest thing this timing-based rhythmic-but-not-really platformer-type-thing has going for it is its lively and kind of crazy nature. But tapping a button (or your phone's screen) to make a guy jump over stuff isn't exactly rocket-science, and once you've seen all of the goofy animations that Tomena Sanner contains, you'll probably never play it again.
Of course, for a game that's five bucks on WiiWare and $1.99 on the iPhone app store, the 30-ish minutes you'll spend seeing all nine of its levels isn't the worst deal in the world. The game puts you in the role of a suited-up businessman who runs to the right. As he encounters obstacles, you need to act--by pressing the A button on a Wii Remote or simply tapping the screen on your phone--to get your guy to jump. You'll need to properly time your presses to get the jumps down right, and the timing varies depending on what you're attempting to get over. While music plays the entire time, the game only feels loosely rhythmic, and I oftentimes felt like I was looking for timing cues that don't exist. If you get the timing correct, it's "great." A looser press will net you a "good" while getting too far outside the timing window counts as a miss. A timer constantly ticks down as you play, and getting great timing gives you a bit of extra time, so you'll need to do well if you want to make it to the end of a level.
That sounds simple and, actually, it sounds pretty stupid. But the hook is in the animations that roll out as you deal with the obstacles. You'll head-butt monks, falling over if you miss or knocking him silly if you time it properly. You'll dance with schoolgirls in large, choreographed sequences. You'll launch robots into space, slide down staircase rails in a crane stance, and kick cowgirls in the face as you work your way through the game. It's extremely goofy, and it's all just weird enough to work, for a time.
The Wii version of the game goes the extra mile by putting more characters on screen in some spots. It also offers a splitscreen multiplayer mode for up to four players and online leaderboards, both of which add a bit more meaning to the experience, but neither aspects really changes the core of the game. You just keep tapping A.
Tomena Sanner is a ridiculous little package that you'll like if you're the sort of person that thrives on games with a decidedly Japanese design aesthetic. But even those of us with a soft spot for this sort of stuff will get bored with it pretty quickly. If you're the type of person that wants to buy something weird and force all your friends to see it, though, then by all means, do it.