Temtem | PS5 Review
Updated: Nov 19, 2021
Temtem is an online MMORPG monster hunter developed by Crema and published by Humble Games and is set in a stunning and bright world where you'll come across a variety of monsters, NPC characters, and fellow players who are setting out to do the same thing as you, catch them all and battle to train your monsters. It's very difficult to review Temtem without mentioning the next most significant game of the genre, Pokémon. However I've really worked hard to play Temtem with an open mind and without the pre-conception of it basically being a Pokémon clone to allow Temtem to shine on its own merit. For the purpose of my review I was playing it on PlayStation 5 where it is still in early access so it is important to note that this is not a completed game where there is still time and scope for many changes and improvements. Temtem is also currently available on Windows PC.
In Temtem you start out your journey as an aspiring tamer where the local professor gives you the choice of your first Temtem and from there you set out on your journey to capture more Temtem, battle fellow players or NPC's. You have six different islands to travel throughout catching monsters as you go and training them for battle. After a very brief tutorial regarding shops and facilities where you can heal your Temtem, you are let loose into the wild for the first time and your adventure begins.
I immediately felt quite familiar with Temtem due to my very extensive Pokémon experience. However alongside that familiarity there was also a steep learning curve particularly in battle as there are some concepts that are different from what I expected. Initially, I couldn't get the idea that Temtem was simply a Pokémon clone out of my head which I very quickly realised was doing Temtem a massive disservice as in some areas I truly got the feeling that Temtem could be onto big things in the sense that the developers have improved upon many of the ideas I'm familiar with from Pokémon. I grew up an absolute Pokémon fanatic so for me to come out with such a statement is huge. One of the big things for me is that even just normal battles against trainers on paths or Temtem that appear in the wild actually require some strategy to win. It's not just as simple as spam the opponent with your most powerful move, if you do that you're going to wind up damaging yourself pretty quickly so you have to adopt new strategies and adapt your playstyle accordingly. Also, rather than the majority of battles being one on one, they're actually teams of two so there's a lot of scope to use moves that buff your other Temtem's stats and likewise, you can have one Temtem decreasing the opponents stats leaving them open to your other monsters attack and destroying them even quicker. Another aspect I really appreciated is that the type weaknesses in Temtem are, in general, different from Pokémon which came as a surprise to me. I think it's safe to say that I've basically memorised all the types of weaknesses in Pokémon so I sort of assumed they'd be the same in Temtem however I was wrong. Whilst Temtem features some similar types of monster to Pokémon, there are also some variations which allows the game to set itself apart from its inspiration adding another layer of depth to the game.
Alongside the story, there is also plenty of scope for PVP battles, joining with friends or strangers around the world and adventuring together and just like in Pokémon, beating the story doesn't mean the end. You can proceed to start intense breeding programs to produce perfect eggs to trade or sell; you can advance continuously and do battles against others and there really is a lot of room for a fantastic competitive scene which will be interesting to see play out and grow as Temtem exits early release.
At present, Temtem doesn't take much advantage of the PlayStation 5's features such as haptic feedback or the adaptive triggers but perhaps over time this will change. I would far rather the game work better and look stunning than have these features in action so I'm not overly concerned about this at this point.
I feel like my biggest critique of Temtem is that in certain areas it's just far too similar to Pokémon. In particular, the soundtrack is basically identical in areas and the basics of the story line could have been more unique however with over twenty years of releasing Pokémon games, it would be easy to say Game Freak has done it all and haven't left many ideas or much inspiration for future competitors to work with.
As a lifelong Pokémon fan and despite my bias against Temtem initially, I believe it does have all the right characteristics to be successful. I feel like Pokémon has essentially cornered the market for monster hunting and collecting games for such a long time now that it's amazing to see Crema step out and create something so similar but different at the same time. If you're a fan of Pokémon you'll immediately feel at home exploring the islands and with the play style, but you'll very early on realise the independent challenges that Temtem has to offer the player. With so many years of games under their belt it felt like there would never be a real competitor to Pokémon. However I do believe with the right work and with a loyal fan base, Temtem could become a big thing and considering the game currently boasts about thirty hours of story and it's only in early access. I can't help but wonder how much more they could add to the game over time and I'm very excited to see what the future holds for Temtem.
Overall, I really enjoyed Temtem and despite my reservations Crema proved to me that I'm not necessarily loyal to Pokémon but I love the genre in general if it's done well. The visuals were stunning and bright, the maps areas had a good variety and didn't feel overly repetitive and the whole map just felt like it was brimming with life. I continue to have a wonderful experience in Temtem and I really can't wait to see what else they manage to achieve with it. Whether you're a lifelong Pokémon fan like me or a newcomer to the genre and looking for a fresh adventure, Temtem definitely fits that criteria and is a worthy addition to your collection.
Lj's Rating: 4 fuzzy monsters out of 5.
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Many thanks to fortyseven for the Review Key.