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Back in June 2018, Crema decided to launch a Kickstarter campaign for Temtem, a game that is clearly and heavily inspired by Pokémon. I decided to back the game and even gave enough for the tier known as “Alpha Hero.” With this snazzy title, I also get access to the alpha release of the game which conveniently came out yesterday, November 28th.
You start with a character creation screen which seemed well off for a game just starting in Alpha. You have a limited number of choices with regards to hair and facial features, but I felt happy with the character I was able to build this early in the development cycle. That being said, many of the NPCs you meet have some interesting clothing and I am hoping that later on in the updates to come, more attire will become available.
You then go through a story that felt so much like carbon copy of Pokémon it seemed almost surreal. You wake up and you’re old enough to become a Temtem master, so you talk to a professor who gives you your first. Sound familiar? I thought so! Even with a similar beginning, the story does have a few different beats such as going to an actual university! I didn’t dive too deep into the story though, as I found myself more interested in the main part of this game: The “Mons”!
Traveling through the world, seeing all these new and exciting creatures made me feel a sense of nostalgia for the good old days of Pokémon Red and Blue. Everything was unusual but intriguing in this world, which honestly, could have due to the fact that the Alpha does a poor job of explaining much of anything. There’s very little in the way of tooltips and many of them are revealed gradually, if you are paying attention to what the other NPCs say before battling you, that is. There is no map and no quest marker anywhere, but there seems to be a plan to do so based on their map joke in the right-hand corner of the screen. Where a map would be, instead there is just an object that says it will grow up into a map one day. That’s right, an evolution joke inside the game itself! How meta.
There were also a few alpha related concerns that came up a couple of times while playing. During the game, I have noticed that it can be a bit sluggish at times as well as randomly freeze up. I thought it might be me at first but I have seen reports from others with similar experiences to this. However, since this is an Alpha and obviously has a bit of hype around it, it’s not surprising that this is quite a load on their servers. In addition, there were a few major game-breaking bugs reported, such as users getting completely stuck in the game, but the developers acted promptly. Within just 2 hours of sending out the last alpha keys, Crema had already pushed out a patch for the game addressing a number of issues.
Where I think the game shines the most, other than the cuteness of all the creatures, would be the actual fighting mechanics. Temtem implements a concept known as Stamina. Each creature has a stamina limit and all moves cost a certain amount of stamina. You can use a move as many times as you want as long as you are keeping an eye on that stamina bar. Try to use a move without having enough stamina and your creature will take damage for overexerting itself. Each turn, stamina will regenerate, but only slightly so it forces the player to be very strategic about what moves are used, as well as what moves your creature should learn.
I have only had about 4 hours of time to play this game so far, but buggy alpha stuff aside, it seems to be a lot of fun. If you are someone who likes monster tamer games then I think it shows some real potential. So far, this alpha is really temtempting me to keep a close eye on the future development of this game.