Adventure Island: Tourmaline Studio talks new toys-to-life project, Oniri Islands

After smashing its Kickstarter goal, this unique toys-to-life adventure is getting ready to go into full production. We caught up with the project’s creator’s Camille Attard and Marion Bareil, charming island adventure. 

Can you explain the concept of Oniri Islands?

Oniri Islands is an adventure and exploration game, with something quite unique: the characters are two smart toys coming to life on your tablet. Once the toys are placed on the screen, the adventure begins. You move them to explore a gorgeous world full of wonders and mysteries. We created a collaborative game for two people to share and enjoy together. We call it a hybrid game because it combines the warmth and tactile touch of a board game with the storytelling power of a video game.

We’ve been testing Oniri for two years, from the very first prototype to the current game chapters, here is what people loved about it: playing with real toys, the beautiful and poetic universe and sharing and enjoying a game for two players.

Can you detail the technology the game uses?

The two toys are recognised through tactile tags so the game can’t be played with any other toys. There is no battery, NFC or RFID inside, it cleverly uses the static electricity from your body. This technology was created and patented by the french design studio Volumique.

What makes separates Oniri Islands from other toys to life products on the market?

The magical thing with Oniri is that you actually play with the toys, they are the controllers of the game and not just a collectable. The material and the digital are truly linked to create a new gaming experience. We also developed a unique cooperative gameplay for friends and families to share and enjoy together: this is something our playtesters, kids and parents, really appreciate, it creates a bonding moment like a bedtime story to play.

And we don’t only rely on cool game mechanics, we created a beautiful story in a unique universe that can sustain the development of a game franchise: we want to create a saga of games with new toys and accessories to buy along with new digital content to enjoy.

What inspired the art style and story of this game?

The scenario is an original story inspired by the Lost boys from Peter Pan (JM Barrie) written for adults and kids. We took also our inspiration from The Lord of the Flies (William Golding) and Ronia, the Robber’s Daughter (Astrid Lindgren).

Oniri Islands universe is both poetic and strange. Our heroes explore a mysterious island, where fauna and flora seems to come from another world. We want Oniri Islands to look and feel like a children’s book: colourful, generous, yet simple. We created a naive yet expressive colourful visual style. We took our inspirations from game and animation studios such as Ghibli, Cartoon Saloon, La Cachette, Atelier Sento but also games with a unique aesthetic like The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker, Animal Crossing, Monument Valley, Gnog, Ooblet or Lieve Oma.

Do you have plans for additional content for the game?

Oniri Islands: Children of the River will be the first step for our franchise development, we plan to release more content for the game with new chapters and masks to come with, this will give us the length to prepare new games using the same Oniri Universe.

 Anything to add?

Oniri Islands is a game out of the box. We are very few people to create games with physical objects, toys-to-life games are mainly produced by big companies. A big thanks to our backers for supporting an independent studio focused on bringing you a game of quality and uniqueness. You can learn more about the game here.

About Robert Hutchins

Robert Hutchins is the editor of and ToyNews. Hutchins has worked his way up from Staff Writer to the position of Editor across the two titles, having spent almost eight years with both ToyNews and, and what now seems like a lifetime surrounded by toys. You can contact him by emailing or calling him on 0203 143 8780 You can even follow him on Twitter @RobGHutchins if ranting is your thing...

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