Game: Ty the Tasmanian Tiger HD
Genre: Action, Adventure, Platformer
System: Nintendo Switch (also on PC, PS4, and Xbox)
Developer|Publisher: Krome Studios
Age Rating: EU 3+ | US Everyone
Price: US $29.99 | UK £23.99 | EU € 29,99
Release Date: March 31st, 2020
Review code provided with many thanks to Krome Studios
The Forgotten Platformer?
Ty the Tasmanian Tiger HD is a game I was always aware of but somehow the series always sort of flew past my radar. Originally released in 2002 for the PS2, Game Cube and Xbox (the actual original one) it came out a little late to the 3D platformer party particularly because Ty shares a lot of similarities to other heavy hitters in the genre such as Sonic, Mario and Crash Bandicoot. But despite appearances, Ty ended up doing well enough to garner more sequels. Now years later here we are with an HD version for the Switch. Has time been kind to Ty? Or is this a title best left in the past?
Adventures Down Under
Set in a fictitious Australia, after chasing his buddy in the woods, Ty falls into a cave and is informed by a spirit that he needs to find five talismans MacGuffins, in order to stop the bad Boss Cass from collecting them and doing bad guys things. It feels like a pretty typical video game plot for the time. Its light-hearted with most of the story presented in pre-rendered cutscenes, which felt a bit old and out of place in this HD edition. Ty’s design feels very Sonic the Hedgehog, with his sort of one eyeball thing going on and attitude esq appearance.
Ty’s vocabulary mostly consists of stereotypical Australian slogans like ‘No Worries.’ There is a large cast of animal characters to meet, like a helpful Cockatiel that gives you hints and tips as you run around the levels and a clever Koala who helps you reach new levels as well as craft new gear. And yes, all of them come with a strong Australian accent and arbitrary humour. None of it is offensive and it’s clear a lot of hard work went into creating this world but at the same time it doesn’t stand out as much as other popular platforming series’.
Collect Them All
The game is a 3D platformer, with emphasis on collecting, a formula that was made quite popular by the early 3D Mario games like Mario 64 and Banjo Kazooie. This game essentially replicates this formula. You enter large levels with various things to collect and mini-missions to complete in order to obtain ‘thunder eggs.’ Collect enough of these across three levels and you can enter a boss room to obtain a talisman. Repeat this process a few times and you win the game.
Ty himself can jump about and use two forms of attack; his teeth and his duel boomerangs. No one attack works with all enemies, so you often have to mix between the two, a gameplay style that feels reminiscent of Spyro the Dragon with its flame or headbutt attacks. By this point, you might notice Ty does seem to take a little bit of inspiration from many 3D platformers. It’s not a bad thing but depending on how experienced you are with the genre Ty does lack his own personality with the exception of the heavily inspired Australian design.
The main difficulty in Ty is searching for all the collectables, which can take up a lot of time within each gameplay session. The game does offer a little assistance with a little map in the options to see approximately where a ‘thunder eggs’ might be. But the combat and boss fights verge on the casual to moderate side. If you are looking for an easy-going experience this might be for you.
The Small Details and Performance
There is a nice variety of levels to explore. Rainforests, seasides, snowy mountains…there’s quite a lot to see. What stood out most is the small details on some levels. Look carefully and you can see little bugs crawling around trees or stand near some NPCs in the snow area and they’ll throw harmless snowballs at you. These touches are quite charming and really took me away from the eye-rolling Australian humour. With this HD version, the game also performs brilliantly on Switch in handheld and TV modes.
The controls are smooth and responsive and there are some nice moments in this game where you can really appreciate its draw distance. Since I’m not overly familiar with the original it’s hard to compare this first hand with the original release. What appears to be added here over the original is the new Hardcore mode, which has you attempt to finish the game with a single life. Death means game over and your save cleared (yeah, no thanks mate). Additional character skins have been added as well as various neat little extras like early game trailers and outtake movies to watch something that even blu-rays don’t seem to do anymore which is sad.
Ty the Tasmanian Tiger HD may not be the most original boomerang in the 3D platform genre, but this is a very good HD remaster. The performance of the game is solid in handheld and TV modes and I actually found myself quite enjoying what this game had to offer. It’s not without issues and feels very much like the first entry in a game series but if you’re curious and enjoy your collector type 3D platformers Ty the Tasmanian Tiger HD is well worth sinking some time into. Insert shrimp on BBQ joke here.
Final Verdict: I like it