In the last few years, nosotros’ve seen a saturation of monster-taming games on Nintendo Switch looking to accept a slice of the Pokémon pie. I should know, I’ve played plenty of them, and while I’ve mostly had a good time, there’s ever been that something missing, whether it be a bit of innovation or that touch on of amuse that the grab-’em-all serial has always had in bundles.
Now Temtem is here, and things are a piffling different. Crema showtime announced the game back in 2018 via a Crowdfunding campaign that ended upwards raising almost x times its original goal, the title has been a long-fourth dimension in the making, with a Steam early admission version of the game available for the last two years. The terminal upshot is something that should be celebrated as quite mayhap the all-time monster-tamer I’ve ever played that isn’t out of Game Freak.
Before I get into my plaudits, and at that place‘southward a long listing of plaudits here, allow me requite yous a trivial context for what to expect in Temtem’due south archipelago islands in the heaven. Crema’s game lifts the cadre of the Pokémon framework, with three starting monsters to make up one’s mind between, wild creatures to capture and add together to your party of six, and a wealth of in-game battles to put your team to the test.
Let’s start with those wild creatures. I love them. The monster design in Temtem is the strongest I’ve seen across a host of similar monster-taming titles, with cute critters and terrifying titans in equal mensurate. For your starter Temtem yous can pick between the crystal-type turtle Crystle, the melee-type monkey Smazee, or the peculiar mental-blazon Houchic, and all three take three-tier evolution lines that follow the formula of adorable ancestry into monstrous fully evolved forms.
The designs are a petty more understated than I’ve seen in other monster-taming titles, simply this isn’t necessarily a bad affair. There’s a touch of the offset generation of Pokémon about the Temtem designs, with a lot of obvious animal inspirations for the creatures you discover in the wild. Pigepic, for example, is just a pig with wings, but information technology’due south a charming piddling thing I quickly added to my team until I found another Temtem I but had to have (so, possibly 5 minutes later on?)
The quaint Temtem designs match up perfectly with the colourful and varied world of Temtem’s Airborne Archipelago. Divide into six diverse biomes that range from desolate deserts, verdant green fields filled with trainers, and toxic wastelands filled with danger, there’s plenty to explore every bit y’all set off on your trainer adventure. Each area lends itself neatly to a specific group of Temtem types, with a spread of wild creatures that brand it feel like you lot’re e’er finding something new later leaving the first main route. Better still, y’all travel from island to isle by airship, which gives the impression of a real sense of scope in the size of Temtem’due south game world.
The gimmick that separates Temtem from its contemporaries is that every battle is a double battle, pitting the duo at the top of your party against ii wild or enemy Temtem in a stone-paper-pair of scissors system that dials up the strategy when compared to titles like Nexomon or Coromon. To make things even more than interesting, Temtem is 1 of the few monster-taming titles I’ve played with dual typing, adding another layer of tactical depth with a host of types that will have you searching for a damage calculator. For reference, those Temtem typings practise differ from what you might expect from Pokémon, and so be sure to hunt down a type nautical chart before finding out the difficult style.
I tin say in all honesty that I haven’t been challenged with a monster-tamer like Temtem in a long time, with the difficulty well above that of what you lot might look in a Pokémon title or your run-of-the-mill RPG. This is, of grade, an active determination made past the developers to answer the calls of all those looking for a suped-up challenge when compared with like titles out of the last few years, but it never feels unfair, and if anything pushes yous to empathize your Temtem’s moves and abilities on a level that other monster-orientated RPGs rarely require.
The overarching narrative constitute in Temtem is like to other monster-tamers in that its plot serves every bit a device to explore new lands, detect new Temtem, and take on the various dojos (this game’s gym leader challenge equivalent) scattered around the Airborne Archipelago. Information technology’s a pretty linear experience, with each isle unlocking after a certain level of story progression, simply this ways you experience the best of each location before you’re moved on, and there are plenty of side quests and subconscious areas to keep you checking out every corner of the in-game earth.
Some elements of the story practise feel a little as well lifted from the pages of Pokémon lore, with the Team Rocket stand-in Clan Belsoto never quite engaging enough to stand out equally a villainous threat worthy of all the rigmarole yous become through to take them on. Information technology’southward here that the amuse fades a little, even if the natural language-in-cheek dialogue does go a manner to lighten the mood, only information technology would be nice to run into a different threat to a monster-filled earth than one markedly similar to that of Pokémon.
On the other hand, Information technology’s clear that Crema has listened to some of the complaints virtually Game Freak’s series of games closely, as its own monster hunter championship makes a big endeavour to include mechanics that Pokémon fans take been request for for years. For example, yous can change your moves and check your SVs and TVs (the equivalent of EV and 4 stats) from the party menu, which is much more convenient than trying to exercise the same even in contemporary Pokémon games, and this usability lends itself in particular to the competitive scene.
I accept to break to talk about Temtem’southward competitive elements because no other monster-tamer has made quite the effort that Crema has to make its game suitable for hours of online play. Breeding, training, and even finding luma Temtem (the shiny equivalent) is less of a dark art than it is in Pokémon, with dialled-on methods to create a party worthy of competitive boxing. Even in the early-access period of Temtem’south launch, I’ve had some exciting and excruciating online battles, and information technology’south definitely where this game shines the brightest.
At that place’s a point to exist fabricated in that Crema’southward enthusiasm to fill up the game with as many mechanics as possible does make for an occasionally convoluted experience as you effort and observe your style back to a specific location, like Saipark (a safari park equivalent), ane of the three in-game sale houses, or a specific mission expanse. This isn’t helped by a lack of a reliable fast-travel method in certain periods of the game, making it a fleck of a hurting to revisit locations for side-quests or hunt down a Temtem you might accept missed.
However, I think it’s fair to give Crema the benefit of the dubiety on this occasion, and y’all can hardly fault the development squad for trying to requite people what they want, it’s just that it tin be a footling overwhelming at points. One time yous do get your caput around all the intricacies and possibilities of Temtem’s mechanics at that place’s enough of fun to exist had – if like me your idea of fun is hours of move testing, stat computing, and strategising – with a depth that you volition struggle to find anywhere else.
What I find a little harder to forgive is some of the connectedness bug I experienced on Switch at launch, with at least two crashes on my first dark with Temtem. In Crema’south defence, the robust auto-save characteristic does hateful you never lose whatever progress through the MMO experience, but it can be tedious to close and restart the application when the loading screens are somewhere between medium-to-long for what I might expect to expect.
The in-game operation, connection issues aside, is admittedly fine. I’ve had one or two lilliputian stuttery moments in heavily populated areas, but no real event with lag or command inputs. It plays well, with a controller dynamic that makes walking, surfing, and flight around nether the Pigepic mountain you lot tin and should purchase in the store all feel different enough to differentiate.
All in all, Temtem is a challenging monster-taming game that finally makes the genre experience worthwhile and worthy of not simply beingness referred to equally Pokémon-like. Of course, the Game Freak framework is where almost of Temtem finds its foundation, simply it builds on its inspiration like few games take managed, specially those out of the monster-taming genre. I still doubt whether a pocket-size Spanish studio like Crema can muster the resources to become a competitor to Pokémon in the long run, but from my fourth dimension with Temtem, I know that it has the capability.
Temtem Switch review
Temtem offers a monster-taming title that has enough to tear us away from the rex of the genre, with an attention to particular across all elements from monster blueprint to competitive online battles. With a niggling more charm, and a few quality-of-life improvements to the solo experience and the MMO aspect, this could be the closest the Pokémon series has e’er come up to a existent claiming to its monster-taming monopoly.