Temtem is a pleasant surprise in the monster collector genre. It’s inspired by Pokemon but brings a lot of other things to the table. The dialogue is well written, the customization is rich and the strategy involved in battles is just as deep as any other game in the genre. Temtem is an essential Pokemon replacement for people who don’t have access to a Nintendo Switch and a great alternative to fans who do. The title is still in early access which is apparent after coming across several areas that are blocked due to still being in development, but what is here works well.
Temtem is a massively multiplayer creature-collection adventure which will feel familiar to Pokemon fans. The title brings a number of new ideas to the monster battling genre such as a stamina meter and an always online MMO connectivity that gamers have dreamt about for years. There are six islands of the Airborne Archipelago for players to explore as a customizable Temtem tamer. The visuals of each area are beautifully colorful and although the settings change, the artistic quality of the game never diminishes. Crema has opened up their development process through a successful Kickstarter campaign and involving the community during the process which will surely improve the game over time.
Similar to Pokemon, there’s a rival named Max who is similar to Gary Oak of the original generation of Pokemon but with a more colourful personality. There’s also a professor who looks similar to Professor Oak named Professor Konstantinos. Konstantinos may resemble a Latin professor oak but he has more attitude and a better sense of humor than Oak did in the original Red, Blue and Yellow titles.
Tamers begin their adventure by customizing their appearance and quickly meeting Professor Konstantinos to receive their first Temtem. Similar to Pokemon, there are only three options: Crystle the Crystal Temtem, Smazee the melee Temtem or Houchic the Mental Temtem. Each monster has their strengths and weaknesses and each will form the foundation of your party of Temtem so choose wisely! Immediately after choosing your Temtem, Max challenges you to a fight with a Temtem he already had and quickly mops the floor with you. After the fight, Professor Konstantinos takes pity on you and gifts you a second monster to venture forth with.
The introductory fight to Temtem is a one-on-one battle but most of the gameplay experience centralizes on two-on-two fights similar to the duo trainers in Pokemon games. The battlefield is just as pastel as the overworld but it’s dynamic so it doesn’t lag to render the colourful visuals. Temtem use stamina rather than PP or Mana to manage their attacks which adds an interesting strategic layer to the monster battle formula. To capture new monsters, a tamer must weaken them before throwing a TemCard which swirls around the creature until it’s captured or it breaks free.
Outside of battle, Temtem follow behind their tamer like they do in the best Pokemon games. This allows gamers to not only see their favorite monsters, but to see that of their friends and enemies as well. Players can team up to adventure the Airborne Archipelago together, or brave the world of Temtem solo. The game requires significant grinding to stay competitive with the trainers that you’ll come across as you explore, forcing you to keep close to HealTem’s and TemDeck’s (this game’s version of a Pokecenter) to grind out some levels and eventually evolve your Temtem’s.
Temtem includes many side quests which focus on characters you may have otherwise skipped right passed, adding to the story in a natural way.The clean UI includes the most important information and hides the rest, with a handy action bar on the left side of the screen and the health of your party on the right side. Due to the fact that the game is still in early access, a lot of features and areas are blocked away and placeholders are put in at random intervals to notify gamers that it’s a work in progress. This isn’t normally an issue, as you can bypass most of these areas, but some parts of the game feel like you hit a brick wall because of the continued development. It remains to be seen how things progress, but for now Temtem is one of the best, most fleshed out monster collecting/battling games to release since Pokemon and I’m looking forward to seeing what the full release looks like.
***PC code provided by publisher***