The creature collection genre has a new addition and it’s out now in early access on PC. Temtem takes inspiration from Pokemon for sure, however, in many ways it goes above and beyond. The following are my Temtem first impressions.
Temtem is a massively multiplayer creature collection adventure inspired by Pokémon. Seek adventure at the lovely Airborne Archipelago along with your Temtem squad. Catch every Temtem, battle other trainers, customize your house, join a friend’s adventure or explore the online living-world. This game looks and feels a lot like Pokemon. The studio is pretty clear about it, even on their steam page it says “this is a homage to Pokemon”.
This is a Pokemon inspired MMO but actually goes above and beyond the latest release from Gamefreak. Pokemon sold like gangbusters in 2019 with its first outing on Nintendo Switch. However, Pokemon has pretty much had a stranglehold on the creature creation genre over the past few years, however, this could be about to change with the early-access release of Temtem.
Even though the game is in early-access it seems remarkably polished for an early release. When you start the game you’re faced with creating a character and the character creation tools are pretty in-depth, or at least on par with Pokemon. Once you create a character the game follows a familiar opening – meet the professor, pick a starter Temtem and then make your way off your initial island after saying goodbye to the townsfolk. You have a rival too, equally annoying as your rival found in Pokemon.
As the game’s in early-access there’s going to be a few bugs (and not the bug-types you may expect). Servers were under incredible load in the opening weeks, although the dev team did a great job of updating the community while under intense pressure and load, so kudos must go out to them.
Temtem does differentiate itself from its rival by adding 2v2 battles. Here you can fight two Temtem at the same time. Also, Temtem abilities can influence each other. For example, if you have a water Temtem and a Poison Temtem, then the water attacks can have poisonous effects. This is a nice little feature. Much like other MMOs, you can see other players in the world running about and you can emote and interact with them.
Another improvement is the vast array of areas to explore. There are six islands to explore in the world of Temtem which are filled with 75 creatures to collect and the world is full of NPCs to chat to. There’s little side quests as well as plenty of battles to get you and your squad ready for future battles. People seem to know each other in this world too as you meet folks who know your family, ask after them, it all adds up to what feels like in-depth world-building.
There are vast similarities of course. Instead of Pokeballs, you have Temtem cards, which trap the Temtem in stasis like a state. It’s hard to imagine Temtem enjoying their lives inside Temtem cards, whereas Pokeballs somehow sounds a little more comfortable.
One thing that will hit you immediately is the difficulty levels. I made my way through Pokemon Sword and Shield without ever breaking a sweat. Temtem, on the other hand, is hard and the battle system is in-depth. The smack is laid down in the first battle in the game where your rival gives you the one-hit kill treatment and that’s a sign of things to come.
Battling in Temtem is all about synergies – finding out what works with what and which abilities complement one another. You’ll come up against dojo leaders that will have powerful squads of Temtem and others that will have complimentary combinations, teaching you to learn what goes well with what. It’s not just a matter of button mashing and using your most powerful attack each time. Keep using the most obvious attack and you’ll get exhausted and will be unable to move, and this forces you to switch things up to be it rotating through Temtem in your party or resting a little bit. It forces more variety and teaches you to plan attacks more carefully.
Temtem has had a great start. So far I’m really enjoying my time with it and it has the potential to provide a rival to the Pokemon franchise. If you like Pokemon and are into the character creation, Temtem provides a viable alternative which is fun, engaging and improves on lots of elements Pokemon has done for years. It might be time for Gamefreak to up their game, as Temtem is approaching in their rearview mirror and there’s a chance a decent battle might break out. Temtem is available right on PC via Steam in Early Access.
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