With the 12 months we’re having, I can’t consider many higher gaming consolation meals than a model new 3D platformer.
Tamarin, a simultaneous PS4 and PC launch (with an Xbox model presently in improvement, in accordance with the official web site), was created by indie workforce Chameleon Video games. The studio’s claim-to-fame is that it’s comprised of a number of ex-Uncommon builders who’ve labored on basic titles like Banjo-Kazooie and Goldeneye 007. Clearly, this units the bar fairly excessive, and on some ranges, I feel Tamarin meets these expectations. On others, it leaves potential on the slicing room flooring.
Having spent roughly 10 hours with the sport, I can truthfully say that it does a good job of scratching any retro platforming itch you may need. Although, for those who’ve been following any current information about Tamarin, you’ll know that it isn’t solely a platformer; there’s a big capturing factor right here too. However we’ll get to that in a bit.
In Tamarin, you (unsurprisingly) play as an lovely New World monkey. Large ants, or ‘Insekts’ as the sport calls them, have invaded close by forests and mountain ranges to construct factories, pollute the atmosphere and customarily wreak havoc. These ants look and sound virtually an identical to those in Jet Drive Gemini. I’m unsure how this works out legally, since Microsoft owns Uncommon, which might in all probability imply Microsoft technically owns JFG. Nonetheless a enjoyable little N64 nod, nonetheless.
So after taking the function of the title’s titular primate, you’re tasked with rescuing the dying world, and tamarin members of the family, from these evil buggy destroyers. It’s a little bit Fern Gully, a little bit Avatar, with a touch of imprecise nature spirituality thrown in for good measure. I respect the idea, however with scarce dialogue, hazy path and a few barely affected writing, the message by no means comes throughout in the best way I needed it to.
At it’s core, Tamarin performs like a extra earnest Fur Fighters, if any of you keep in mind that Dreamcast/PS2 launch. You’ve bought attractive open worlds to run round in, and once in a while, you’ll drop right into a stage that requires the usage of lethal power through critical firepower. You possibly can’t swap characters like you can in Fur Fighters, however I’d place these video games in the identical fundamental furry-creatures-wield-insane-firepower class.
Like I discussed, a lot of the gameplay consists of romping round fantastically crafted maps crammed with breathtaking surroundings, and in truth, all of it feels nice. Exploration controls are fluid and pleasing, and the identical could be stated of the capturing bits. In actual fact, the fight controls means higher than they’ve any proper to be, particularly in a platformer.
Unusually although, there’s no choice to invert the aiming, which proved to be a large drawback for a southpaw gamer like me. I’m assured by the event workforce that this might be patched in sooner or later down the road, however I’ve principally needed to play via your entire journey with backward controls, which has made all the things ten occasions tougher.
Additionally, there’s no world map or waypoints, which may go away big parts of the sport feeling type of nebulous and aimless. It wasn’t unusual for me to spend an hour actually wandering round with none clue as to the place I needs to be going, and even how I ought to discover the subsequent set off to progress. Perhaps that is deliberately designed to maintain gamers exploring, however truthfully, I principally felt annoyed throughout these empty stretches.
On this means, Tamarin could be very a lot frustratingly retro. It’s all sort of ‘determine it out as you go’, even all the way down to entrances to completely different phases. None of them are labeled, simply alluded to with non-descript indicators. I actually needed one thing akin to how the Spyro video games deal with their hub worlds, with very clear delineations between hubs and phases. So as an alternative of simply having fun with how effectively Tamarin performs and the way nice it seems, most time is spent merely determining the place to go. Personally, I didn’t discover this facet very enjoyable.
Trendy video games can usually maintain your hand an excessive amount of, however generally I want a minimum of a little bit nudge to push me in the correct path. This might have been alleviated with a simple map and a extra clear sense of development. And on that notice, there’s additionally no option to immediately warp out of ranges, which ends up in quite a lot of backtracking. Once more, this type of factor is a given in most trendy releases, and it’s there for good motive. No person has time to pointlessly retread, although some players would possibly discover this…stress-free?
In the long run, Tamarin is a commendable style hybrid effort by a small, bold workforce that’s admittedly enjoyable to regulate, hearken to and take a look at. Sadly, it’s much less enjoyable as a gaming entire and lacks, a minimum of for me, definitive progress markers that, in most different comparable video games, serve to push the narrative ahead and supply definitive rewards.
That basic Uncommon taste is unquestionably obvious, particularly between Richard Vaucher’s artwork and David Smart’s soundtrack, which is able to in all probability give retro followers sufficient motive to present it a go. However for me, Tamarin, whereas a shocking murals in and of itself, falls in need of being the 3D journey renaissance I desperately hoped it will be.
Nevertheless, I consider there’s sufficient lovely potential right here to warrant a sequel that would absolutely notice one thing particular for next-gen hardware.
Disclaimer: Chameleon Video games supplied a evaluate code for protection functions.