Many have tried to copy the Pokemon recipe in the past and mostly many have failed. Even with Game Freak reinventing the series, there’s still nothing out there that manages to deliver the same magic that comes from Pokemon. Temtem, while being a blatant copy of the series to a certain degree, delivers a fun way to have your own “non-Nintendo” Pokemon experience on the PS5.
I look for specific things when jumping into a new Pokemon game and given how Temtem is meant to be the same thing, I had to go into this game with the same expectations. Does it deliver the same amount of team building and discovery and is the world worth exploring. For the most part, it does but there are some downsides to this which I hope get fixed soon. Keep in mind that Temtem is still in early access so it can grow from this point. The experience is good so far and there’s a lot of content to enjoy. There are bugs and some balancing issues.
What content can you expect from Temtem on PS5? Well, there’s a hundred Temtem to collect and evolve, the main story to follow, some side quests to fill the gaps player housing and multiplayer. Developer Crema also promises that two more large islands (the same size as the early access one) will arrive soon along with new features too.
The PS5 runs this game extremely well. The 4K 60FPS visuals add to the detailed world and creatures I discovered along the way. The overall art style in Temtem is cel-shaded and works well for the game’s direction. With that being said, I was let down by the lack of “PS5” features in the early access build. There are no trophies to collect, no haptic feedback and there was a horrific bug that kept asking me to sign up to PlayStation Plus over and over again. Keep in mind that I do have a subscription. When this happened, the game would teleport me back to the first town meaning I had to trek all the way back to where I was.
There’s also cross-play enabled between PS5 and Steam so you can see players running up and down. Now for me, this was not great. You see, the whole point of playing a creature collecting game such as this is to discover the creatures and evolve them as you level up. Within the first two hours of playing, other players who were running around with their Temtem at their sides ruined the sense of discovery for me. Even my starter, Houchic, had someone running around with the evolved version. It left nothing new to look forward to and I wish there was a way to just turn this off. A lot of people would prefer to play this as a single-player game and jump into multiplayer after discovering the awesome creatures. I am one of those people.
Okay, enough complaining about things that aren’t really problems. How does Temtem play? Well, if you have ever played a Pokemon game before it will feel very familiar. You can create a character and within the first 3 minutes, I had selected a starter Temtem. However, there are some major differences here especially when it comes to the Temtem types and how this feeds into the combat which also quite different. Instead of PP, Temtem uses stamina to pull off moves. More powerful moves use more stamina and if you don’t have enough stamina to use the move then your Temtem damages itself and exhausts for one turn.
This means there’s this constant back and forth of using an attack, making sure you have enough stamina or using an attack without the right amount and worrying about a self-inflicted KO. It is a fun approach and technically it makes more sense than PP. However, it also means the game is a lot tougher than Pokemon. Not only do you have to worry about stamina but some moves also have a turn count timer. This means that you can’t just go into a fight and use a powerful move straight away to defeat your foe and move on. It provides some balance even if it makes these battles feel like a grind after a while. The joy of grinding in Pokemon relies on using these moves as quickly as possible so you can get your XP and move on.
Battles are also two-on-two so I had to constantly plan my attacks and take out the opposing Temtem carefully. This feeds into the game’s Temtem types which, while there are some familiar ones, there’s also some which are far off the path compared to Pokemon. Crystal, Toxic, Digital to name a few. It is going to take a while to get used to these types but then again, I am still not great at Pokemon’s recently-added ones either.
You will spend a lot of time in combat as that’s the game’s main feature. Catching Temtem, training them and evolving them into more powerful creatures. For the most part, the combat is fun enough to carry the experience. However, unlike recent Pokemon games which have introduced new ways to share XP in order to reduce the grind, Temtem does not help you here. This means grinding up levels for new Temtem you catch will be a chore. It also does not help that the game’s story is forgettable so it won’t carry the grind by any means.
Then we have the multiplayer which allows you to fight other players inn ranked battles and also join a friend (or random) in co-op. At first I thought the co-op was going to be a snooze fest but it turned out to be my most favourite feature of them game. It was great to coordinate attacks with my brother as we each took control of one Temtem in the fight. You can also explore the world together, collect items, catch Temtem and complete side quests.
It is also important to note that Temtem is an MMO to a certain degree. This means that much of its online features both current and upcoming will continue to grow and push the game even further. Do you have to play it with someone? Not at all. However, Crema promise that new features will arrive such as new Temtem, a clan PvP mode, auction house and more. This will rely on the MMO aspect of the game so you may feel a little left out if you are playing this solo.
I cannot score a game that is not finished yet. However, I can tell you that Temtem is fun and anyone that craves the Pokemon experience but has either finished the current games or does not own a Switch will find some in this. While none of the Temtem creatures are remotely as memorable as Pokemon, you will want to catch them all and watch them grow. I am looking forward to the future of Temtem.
Available On: PS5, Switch, PC, Xbox Series X/S | Reviewed On: PS5 | Release Date: 21 January 2020 | Price: R799