Publishers: Humble Games
Platforms: Nintendo Switch (reviewed on), PC, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S
Release Date: September 6, 2022
When it was first announced years ago, the same people that constantly pick apart everything they don’t like about Pokemon hailed Temtem as some sort of Pokemon killer.
Its lively cel-shaded graphics mixed with its unique visual art style caught some eyes…back in 2018. But now, in 2022 when the game is finally getting the console release, it has about as much graphical detail as an early PlayStation game like Brave Fencer Musashi. The main difference being, if you handed me Brave Fencer Musashi I’d excited play it.
This may sound rough, but listen, so is Temtem.
First off, the game is broken. I played it on the NIntendo Switch and while people like to dog on the small wonder, I’ve never had issues on mine. Games like Pokemon, Mario, Zelda, all the biggens play perfectly well. And, honestly, it’s my preferred way to play indy darlings like Cuphead, Hades, and Dead Cells as well.
So, imagine my surprise when I was in the middle of a Temtem battle and my game broke so hard that it revealed its guts to me. This video, by the way, was third time this happened.
The game got better but my experience, unfortunately, did not. Temtem almost seems to exist as a “be careful what you wish for” when it comes to Pokemon. It not only adds a slew of features some people have wanted in Pokemon for years, but also shows exactly why that wouldn’t be good.
When I first started playing, I was surprised to find the chat was completely dead. That seemed odd to me, especially with the game having come out just recently on console. But then I found out that you can’t chat on the $45 version. You have to get the $60 version for online activities.
Also, apparently, you need the “pro” version if you want to hold more than 30 creatures. Weak considering there are 164 different creatures at the last count.
It felt really weird to pay the price of an average game only to be treated like I was running a trial.
But eventually I got the pro version and found myself in the middle of a massive debate of “[Adult stuff], Marry, Kill” in which the players were all engaged in a VERY lively debate about which of the animals that’d want to sleep with first. It was… graphic and I still see the words in my head as I sleep.
Speaking of paying for more, what if I told you that regardless of whether you pay $45 or the full $60 price, many of the cosmetics and items are hidden behind a season pass! Yup. You also have to pay for a season pass to get various outfits and different ways to interact and customize your trainer.
And, imagine my surprise when I bought the season pass to get access to some of the stuff on there and test out the ease of progression, only to find out that you can’t level up the season pass until after beating the game. It’s something they definitely should have mentioned as I couldn’t get a refund for it.
And I’d beat the game but it is a SLOG.
Remember how I told you Temtem is a warning? Well, one of the things that Temtem does that people constantly talked about missing is the old-school traditional battles. And not only does Temtem go back to the remarkably slow battle system of the old games, complete with invisible random encounters, but they go back one step further and add a stamina meter so you can have the fun extra step of your Temtem getting pooped out while fighting and using up a turn to switch them out.
No joke, before I got to the first Dojo (not a gym, see, different than Pokemon) I had grinded for roughly five hours of gameplay. This would have been slightly less torturous if it wasn’t for the fact that the landscape is a dull, flat, realm of blobs and greens and browns.
The characters also lack life in a big way. If you look again at the picture above, you’ll notice that my character on the left has a lot in common visually with the “Aggrieved Local” to the right. That’s because every NPC I encountered, with RARE exception, is generated by the same limited character creation you get to make your character with. This creates a community that looks like there’s a gene pool so shallow you’d expect the game to take place within Buckingham Palace.
To make matters worse, many of the characters also grunt at the beginning of every line. So if you’re a fast reader like I am, it feels like you’re listening to a Lamaze class in action.
I know I’m sounding harsh, but I’m speaking the truth. I mean, I can see some people getting in for this. It seems like a special place for some of the most toxic Pokemon fans that can’t see the series evolve without losing their lunch. In here they have the ability to chat with like-minded people while they grind their Temtem up over the years.
And I’ll fully admit they have some really cute Temtem designs. Like, I would die for the Luma version of the adorable Loali. Test me.
So there is something for some people here, I’m sure. But I can’t, in good conscience, say the game was fun.
It took so much time just to get to the first Dojo, that my wife had taken to pepping me on so I could get through it. And even then she’d find me asleep on the couch.
Temtem (Switch) Score: 6/10
Bugs, lackluster graphics and questionable design choices prevent Temtem from becoming the Pokemon alternative many had hoped it would be.
A copy of this game was provided to App Trigger for the purpose of this review. All scores are ranked out of 10, with .5 increments. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.