Seriously, Why Are Some Of You Still Sleeping On Temtem?
Temtem, the lush catch-’em-up MMO from CremaGames, has been out for over a year now, which begs the question: why on Earth are some of you still sleeping on Temtem?
When Temtem launched last January, it received a barrage of comparisons to its obvious influence: The Legend of Zelda. OK, people thought it looked a bit like Pokemon, and it does. The thing is, you can’t just say, “Oh, that’s similar to this, which means it’s inherently derivative and bad.” Most modern games are inspired by something, and the fact that so few games actively sought to capitalize on the highly successful formula of Pokemon for so long is a bit absurd in hindsight. Crema was just the bravest of the bunch, willing to take a solid core gameplay loop and iterate on it in new and unique ways.
The result is a wonderful world teeming with a similar kind of magic to the one we know and love from Pokemon, but it’s very distinct from it, too. Sure, choosing your Tem at the beginning of the game hearkens back to similar decisions you make in that other series, and the battles are choreographed in a similar way to what you might expect from the likes of Sword & Shield – although, fortunately, they’re much less sluggish. Aside from that, Temtem is very different from Pokemon, both artistically and atmospherically. I reckon the world’s art direction is almost on par with Game Freak’s video game colossus at times, but a lot of Temtem’s creatures are admittedly pretty inferior. Sure, Oceara is great, and Valiar looks like an Espeon except it’s a rabbit unicorn now, but we’ve got no gigantic tortoises with cannon shoulders or fire-breathing dogs with their skeleton on the outside of their bodies. A lot of Temtem’s creature designs are fairly bog standard, but hey – Gen 1 had some absolute stinkers when it came to design, so I don’t think there’s any reason to discredit Crema after it’s done such an amazing job elsewhere.
So yeah, speaking as a hardcore Pokemon fan, Pokemon is generally better than Temtem. But – and this one’s the kicker – Temtem is so fresh that it’s more enjoyable to play than a lot of recent Pokemon games. You don’t come in knowing all of the type matchups, or what something is going to evolve into, or the tropes when it comes to world traversal – hell, Temtem has ice skates and a heckin’ grappling hook to make use of. Temtem is also a world that is still being developed. I played the base game at launch, maxed out loads of Tems, and then took a break to play other games for a bit. Because I already owned Temtem, I was treated to the Kisiwa expansion for free just a few months later. We’ve got loads of other islands coming to the game over the next couple of years, too, meaning that this is something you can hold on to for the long haul. It’s like having a Pokemon game except it’s not 70 quid and the DLC isn’t 30 quid each – you pay once and you’re sorted for the next few years, with new regions, story content, Tems, moves, and more being added on a relatively regular basis.
It’s also worth noting that competitive Temtem rules. Crema constantly tinkers with the balancing in order to ensure that the meta is tight at all times, but shifts regularly. What’s more, Temtem has all kinds of in-game mechanics designed to minimize the need to spend dozens of hours breeding just to get a viable Tem. You can make anything you own a perfect contender for online play if you pay attention to how the game works, while breeding is used for more specific hereditary traits and pursuing the elusive triumph of obtaining a Luma, or a Shiny, as you might otherwise know it.
Temtem has been available on PC for over a year and it recently launched on PS5. It’s an amazing game that’s going to be around for a very long time and I have no idea why so many of you – many of whom claim to like Pokemon – are consciously choosing to sleep on it. There are no new games coming out right now – well, except for maybe Loop Hero, which is amazingly cathartic to play a year into the pandemic – so what’s stopping you from downloading Temtem, eh? Honestly, if you’ve ever enjoyed a single Pokemon game and are looking for something fresh and enjoyable to tide you over for the next few months – and potentially years – get on Temtem and thank me later. It’s cheaper than triple-A games, has a single-player campaign that’s excellently written (and will receive free expansions for years to come), and has a bustling and completely optional online scene for those with more of a competitive edge. I mean, come on. You’ve got no excuse not to at least try it.
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Cian Maher is the Lead Features Editor at TheGamer. He’s also had work published in The Guardian, The Washington Post, The Verge, Vice, Wired, and more. You can find him on Twitter @cianmaher0.
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