ESPORTSREPORTER.COM / DANTE SRILAPA – SENIOR EDITOR / DECEMBER 14, 2020 /
Disclaimer: Temtem is not Pokémon
But holy crap is it close
Welcome to the world of Temtem, where you can catch your very own ̷P̷o̷k̷é̷m̷o̷n̷ Temtem. You’re a child who is given your very own ̷P̷o̷k̷é̷m̷o̷n̷ Temtem and are tasked with an amazing journey to catch every ̷P̷o̷k̷é̷m̷o̷n̷ Temtem in order to fill up the professor’s ̷P̷o̷k̷é̷d̷e̷x̷ Tempedia.
Okay I’ll stop now.
But for real, this game at first seems like a shameless clone of the beloved turn-based RPG many of us grew up with. It’s a little disorienting to see pretty much the exact same game, but with no familiar faces. Although you might be tempted to write it off as a Pokémon ripoff and call it a day, I urge you to stop. This game is an entirely new beast with its own pros and cons.
I’ll start with the cons.
This game is still in early access. What does that mean? It means what it always does when a game is in early access: bugs. This game crashes literally every 45 minutes that I am actively playing it. Could it be the forced online gameplay? Could it just be an internal coding issue? I’ve got no clue, but it gets pretty damn irritating to have to relaunch the game every sub-hour. And also, what the hell is with this difficulty? In the time that it would have taken me to beat any Pokémon title (aside from Heartgold and Soulsilver because we know those were looooong), I’m only up to the fourth dojo/gym. Grinding for levels in this game is super time consuming as well as resource consuming. Health items cost a decent amount of money, so you end up feeling like you have to constantly run back and forth to healing centers.
And last but not least, traveling for quests. A chore. The chore to end all chores. The chore to make your mother’s chores feel like 1st grade math. Because of the fact that I haven’t received the “fly” ability, if it even exists in this game, all of my travel is purely by foot. There isn’t a bike, and my default movement speed is perfectly between the walking and running speeds in Pokémon. However, maybe this isn’t too fair of an assessment. It only feels tedious when compared to Pokémon and, like the disclaimer says above, Temtem is not Pokémon.
Now let’s dive into the pros: everything else.
As a dedicated Pokémon fan, I was horribly disappointed by the most recent titles, Sword and Shield. The difficulty was at an all time low, and the game just felt unfinished. It took two DLC’s to make the game feel anywhere near complete, and I still have no motivation to play it. The main story took me just shy of 13 hours to finish, far less than previous titles, and I enjoyed very little of it. Needless to say, I was craving a good and challenging game out of the series. I just never would have guessed that I would get it entirely elsewhere.
Temtem brings a new complexity that I cannot help but love. Every battle in the game is formatted to be 2v2. Constant double battles. And not only is this the case, but the developers have made it so that your Temtems’ moves are sometimes affected by who their current teammate is. Type advantages are more important than ever too, as your enemies do an INSANE amount of damage constantly. Through sheer difficulty and emphasized importance on strategy, I feel like I’m being forced to play more intelligently and carefully than I ever before in a Pokémon game.
And my oh my, this game is freaking gorgeous. The settings are super immersive and diverse. Not only that, but the art style of the game has a very unique charm. The people and the Temtem have such an interesting look that separates them from the feel of being a Pokémon clone. It’s almost like the more I play, the game continues to prove that it pays heavy homage to the Pokémon ideals while also establishing itself as its own entity.
Despite the fact that the game crashes on me twelve times a day, despite the aggravating and endless torture called level grinding, and despite the charming but super odd choice of dialogue at times, I am absolutely in love with Temtem. I’m in love with all the glaring similarities to its inspiration, while even more in love with the ambition behind its creation. I cannot wait for it to be a finished game and I ask this of every Pokémon master; give this game a shot too.
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