For years, indie developers have taken inspiration from classic game franchises in order to create new experiences, and Temtem is definitely one of those games. It clearly takes the classic formula of Pokémon and turns it into an MMO. It has received a lot of praise, but are its similarities to Pokémon a crutch? Or, is it a great game regardless?
Here's What We Like
Anyone can play it
And What We Don't
I’ve never played a Pokémon game, so I have no interest in comparing Temtem to its inspiration. (And, if you do want a review of Temtem as a Pokémon clone, there are plenty out there.) Rather, I have much more interest in seeing if the developers of Temtem (Studio Crema) made the effort to make sure it was friendly to people new to the genre, and if they created a game worth the relatively high-price tag (for an early access game).
Let’s get into it.
Gotta Capture Them All
After creating your character in Temtem’s good-enough character creator, you arrive at the opening where you pick your starter Temtem, get into your first battle, and set off on your quest. This intro is actually a perfect showcase for the rest of Temtem.
There is way too much dialogue, however, and you’re constantly paused from progressing. But despite both of those major issues, it is still incredibly engaging. Temtem runs off of gameplay loops—you always start at some form of town and are told to go somewhere important. As you run the linear path to the next location, you come across random untamed Temtem encounters and other Temtem tamers. Both of these do a good job, gradually increasing the difficulty as you explore until you get to the new area, usually with a master tamer present to act as a major difficulty spike.
This repeats throughout the entire game, and I found it incredibly addictive.
While it might seem odd to praise a game for repeating the same gameplay structure over and over again, it really works in Temtem’s case because it means there is always a challenge dangling in front of your face. You cannot progress through the game without battling the random tamers, as they are hurdles to be overcome. And, it always feels great when you do.
But my favorite part of Temtem is always coming across new species of Temtem in untamed encounters. They all have great designs, and there’s something just satisfying about adding them to your Temdeck.
Of course, that wouldn’t be so enjoyable without a solid battling system. Temtem is a turn-based RPG, and it captures the best parts of that genre. Your Temtem’s different moves all consume a certain amount of stamina, so you’re always on edge as you try to balance healing, stamina, and dealing damage throughout the battle. And, when you just barely win a battle with only a single Temtem left on low health, it is one of the most satisfying feelings a game has to offer.
Temtem’s presentation is top notch. The game uses a colorful cel-shaded style that’s always pleasing to look at. Currently, there are three different islands in Temtem, and you can tell the artists went the extra mile to make them all distinct. While you start in a fairly standard grasslands area, the world only gets more unique as you go on. The game’s GUI and menu are also great, keeping things clear and easy to navigate.
While the sound effects in Temtem are nothing special, the music is wonderful. The calmer pieces that play while you’re exploring the world are great background tracks, and the main battle theme has not left my head since I started playing.
Temtem is an MMO, meaning you can see other players running through the world, battle them, and play co-op. All of this works fine, and co-op can be really fun, but it seems strange to me that Temtem insists on being always online. The main game content never requires you to interact with other players, meaning that if you are having connection issues (or just don’t have access to the internet), you’ll have a tough time playing.
Multiplayer is great to have, don’t get me wrong, but it would be nice to have the option of playing offline.
Temtem is a great game, and was obviously made with a lot of passion from the development team. I’ve enjoyed every hour spent in it so far and will continue to do so. And, considering my complete lack of experience with these types of games, I found it accommodating to newer players like myself.
The game is currently in early access , which can always be a source of worry. But considering the game’s immediate popularity and the strong foundation that’s already here, I think Temtem’s gonna make it to a full release without any problems. When it does, it’ll even be ported to the PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch, so that way even more people can experience this great game.
Here’s What We Like
Anyone can play it
And What We Don't