Ryan Brolley, the co-founder and president of Alchemedium has been touring about with the Indie Megabooth showcasing his first video game, A Tofu Tail, and visited the city of Boston for the first time for PAX East 2018.
We had the opportunity to play it over the weekend, and it is a charmingly simple, increasingly challenging, and therefore highly addictive puzzle game where you control a highly expressive block of tofu, moving about suspended tiles to reach a goal post. To get to the goal, however, he must traverse tiles of varying elements, which, because he is tofu, he absorbs the essence and flavor of as me marches onward, making his travels surprisingly deep and puzzling, especially as he encounters Japanese folklore deities along the way.
The game is available for pre-order on Alchemedium’s website for DRM free download or future steam key redemption for a cool $10.00 USD.
Ryan Gibbs, TYF music editor: So, why tofu?
Ryan Brolley, programmer and designer “A Tofu Tail”: When I started making the game – it was a prototype to start – I was reading a lot of Japanese mythology at the time. I found that the Japanese fox is the kitsune and their favorite food is tofu. It started to fit with a lot of the things I was doing, like absorbing the properties of things around you and changing your color. Plus, the kitsune is a good antagonist.
Ryan G: How long did it take to make the game, from start to finish?
Brolley: We’re still in development, but it’s been about five years in our free time outside of our day job.
Ryan G: Why did you decide to go with an isometric perspective?
Brolley: I have a love of that from games like “[Super] Mario RPG” and old Super Nintendo games. Also it kind of fit easier with hand-drawn tile based things.
Ryan G: Apart from those games, what were some of your influences in making this game?
Brolley: Especially for the art style, things like “Okami” and “Bastion”. I actually used the background for “Bastion” as a prototype background. A lot of the influence for the theming came from “Okami”.
Ryan G: Can you explain to me a bit about the plot of the game?
Brolley: The plot is you are a person in Japan that happens upon a shrine that has a fox on it, and there’s a jewel. This woman offers you this magical jewel and all this power, but [she] is actually this kitsune that tricks you and turns you into tofu to do her bidding to find these magic gems for her. So you’re going through the game trying to get your body back, essentially.
Ryan G: How many levels?
Brolley: Right now, there’s probably about 50 puzzles that we’ve built. We’re trying to shuffle that around and find a good balance for the flow through the game.
Ryan G: Are you planning to incorporate a level builder?
Brolley: There is one in the engine that I built to build the levels. I would like to push that out as something packaged with the game, but it might come after.
Ryan G: When are you expecting the game to be released?
Brolley: For PC, Mac [and] Linux, probably late this year. After that, we want to look at consoles. I’m looking at XBox, Playstation and Switch. I need to dig into that a little bit and see how that would go.
Ryan G: What has been the biggest challenge during the development of this game for you?
Brolley: This is our first game, so there’s been a lot of thing we’ve been learning along the way. One of the biggest lessons was scope: You can have these big visions and trying to pull those back to make a very compact game in a shorter amount of time was a really big challenge.