♪ Don't you bug me, with Swali, first you'll need to break free from Smazee. You wanna fly high with Tuwai? You may just get licked by Pigepic ♪. Honestly, I wish I could carry this on all day, but I'm already stretching my lyrical abilities. If you haven't caught the tune I'm going for, then all you need to do is re-read the header of this preview and listen to this awesome track. If it isn't already obvious, Temtem is Pokémon. Temtem doesn't hide that it's Pokémon and it's all the better for it.
I love Pokémon, despite the fairly open reservations I have with Sword and Shield. The world has truly been lacking a Pokémon game that people can play together, the feel of a living and breathing world. Simply put, the world has been lacking an online Pokémon game - MMO or otherwise. Temtem is looking to fill that void with a game that the developers Crema openly describe as "a massively multiplayer creature-collection adventure inspired by Pokemon."
It would be easy to think of Temtem as a simple Pokémon clone, but that would honestly be doing it a disservice. Yes, there are obvious similarities in the fact that you are going around capturing animals and battling said animals with other trainers. Here you capture them with a card, it's a ball in Pokémon. You can level said animals up through battle, learning new abilities to use in battle. Some, when they reach a certain level, also evolve. So far, so Pokémon.
Before I get to the good stuff, let's just go through the similarities. Get it out of the way so I don't need to say the words "like Pokémon" another few hundred times. Breeding, learnable moves from items, gyms that you need to go through and beat to progress with the story, a Team Rocket (because Team Rocket is the only team) style enemy and your rival from your home town. Frankly, the start of Temtem is so similar to Pokémon that you could get a nostalgia trip.
Each Temtem has a type that it comes under, the list not being too dissimilar to that of the Pokémon. In Temtem there are twelve types in total. As you can expect, each type is weak or strong against moves of another type. Each Temtem can hold four moves at any one time, with moves not having a set number of uses but costing a certain amount of SP. The basic tactics are already there.
This for me is better than the use-limits found in that other creature-catching game, it allows for longer periods outside of towns, exploring and adventuring, plus there's the tactical aspect of SP management. Use an ability that takes your creatures SP to 0 and it will do damage to itself through exhaustion and be unable to do anything else the next turn. SP does regenerate at the end of every turn, though only a small amount.
Another excellent feature here is that though and this is something that Pokémon should have done by now, a Temtem doesn't have to forget old moves, they simply go into a sidebar and can be swapped in as pleased. It makes for a much more flexible system and if you think you've made a mistake in replacing a move with another, happy days - just go swap them over.
Battling brings is what I consider the best aspect of Temtem. There's a lot of nice little features found within. Playing with a friend? You can travel together, each using one temtem each against wild temtem, other trainers and even the gym leaders. You'll be able to have friendly and actual competitive (ranked?) battles against other trainers too.
It's in these battles against wild encounters, AI trainers and other humans that you see why I said the basic of tactics are there earlier. Simple strengths and weaknesses only just scratches the surface because, in Temtem, you have synergy to consider. In a battle, you use two Temtem and with several moves, they have synergy with a Temtem of a different type.
For example, if you have a Temtem that uses the move Urushiol, you ideally want to have a toxic Temtem as your second. Why? Because it will then have the added effect of poisoning the enemy as well as damaging them. It all makes for a surprisingly tactical and engaging time as you're finding the genuinely best combinations to synergistically dominate anything that comes along to challenge you. That or you could simply level up a lot and try to brute force your way through.
I've only been playing Temtem recently, having been invited to the closed alpha for preview purposes and I'm absolutely loving it. I've teamed up with other people to help them take out a gym leader. Captured fifteen of my own Temtem so far and I've only just left the first of six lands within the game. When the game launches in early access, seventy-six Temtem will be within the game of a full one hundred and sixty one when it is fully launched.
That means there's so much left for me to explore. I've seen but not captured a shiny Temtem. I've not even seen any of the legendary Temtem said to be in the game. Even at this early stage, it shows so much promise and I already know that any spare time, I'll be raising my critters, breeding and training them, exploring and questing around the world and just taking in what is genuinely a happy, lovely, game.
This is looking like Pokémon online, or at least what I've hoped Pokémon online would be, had Nintendo ever decided that they just wanted to roll around in an even greater pile of cash. Releasing to early access on the 21st of January, you can always have a go yourself during the stress tests - I highly recommend it. This isn't a review, so no official scores, but so far I'm giving it a Temtem out of ten.