The devil is in the detail
While it’s great to be able to take the kids to the park for a kick-about or finding new trails, there are times when you want to relive your youth with them by playing video games. There’s a resurgence in the 16-bit type platformers, but there’s a void for games like Super Mario 64. Enter TY the Tasmanian Tiger HD – a game you can coax your loved ones into.
Back in the early noughties, TY the Tasmanian Tiger entered the scene and was available for the major platforms. If you had a console, chances are you will either have played or at least seen the game, which looks like a fusion of Banjo-Kazooie thrown in with Crash Bandicoot. That’s a compliment if ever I’ve given one.
You take on the role of the titular TY – a Tasmanian tiger – not devil, as he runs around a variety of 3D worlds, boomerangs in hand, in the attempt to collect a series of thunder eggs. Collecting these eggs will unlock a portal that allows him to obtain one of five talismans that can be used to thwart his evil nemesis Boss Cass. The latter is kidnapping animals and locking them up. Like a Sonic variation, TY frees up the enemies with his assortment of boomerangs and in the process, save the day.
There are a few other bits, but it’s a typical story for this genre, and you’ll pick it up in no time.
What should be focussed on here is the gameplay. TY the Tasmanian Tiger HD is a throwback to the 3D games that were introduced back when the Dreamcast and the PlayStation 2 were thriving. The Dreamcast had Sonic Adventure and the PlayStation has Crash Bandicoot and a deluge of other, equally decent titles that followed. But of course, Super Mario 64 preceded both, and if you played it when it first came out, your mind would have been blown – and your wallet; carts were expensive!
TY the Tasmanian Tiger HD follows these blueprints of relatively decent sized 3D environments to explore, focusing on basic combat and platform action. We follow TY from behind using the left stick for movement and the right stick for operating the camera. Despite the many improvements in this release, the cameras remain authentic as they swing around lightning quick and can be quite problematic at times. You could argue that this is the charm, but jumping off one platform to get to another when you can’t see where TY is becomes a spanner in the works.
I won’t focus on all the bells and whistles of improvements, but the gist of it is TY the Tasmanian Tiger HD has been buffed up to a high sheen while keeping the same vibe of the original. The textures are better, characters sharper and maybe I’m overthinking it, but the colours pop, and there’s a real feeling of nostalgia here – not just for the original game, but for the likes of Banjo-Kazooie etc. One of the notable changes to the game is you can have a bit more control over your boomerangs by controlling them with the joy-cons. It’s a good option to have and adds a further challenge.
Speaking of challenge, TY now has a hardcore mode.
When it came out, many gamers complained that it was too easy. While I was comfortably able to complete it the first time around, I wouldn’t say it’s too easy, but it lacked the challenge of its peers. The combat is way too easy though. At first, you feel like you’re a pro, but then realise it’s the difficulty. With the new mode, the game is significantly harder but still doable. That said, this added challenge should entertain those who may dismiss this as a family game, which is my next point.
Under the current circumstances of these reviews, many of us are spending more time with one another than usual. Sometimes that can be seen as a good thing as you never have time, but it can take its toll if you have younger children bickering at one another and need a distraction. In our household, it’s mostly been Disney+ and Netflix, but several times now I’ve docked the Switch in the living room and we all played TY the Tasmanian Tiger HD. Nobody seemed to get bored when it wasn’t their go. It’s a solo game, but it’s such a nice game, that it appeals to a broad audience.
Sure your Call of Duty fans may dismiss this pretty quickly, and I get that. At TBG we get such a variety of games to cover that you need to be open to new things. In TY the Tasmanian Tiger HD’s case, I leapt at the chance to play it, but it’s important to judge the games on their own merit. On that basis, and within the 3D platforming arena, TY the Tasmanian Tiger HD performs on all levels, and I’d go out on a limb and encourage you to try this out if you’re a fan of the genre or want a bit of nostalgia.
All the ingredients are here
Easy but fun combat, platforming components that are easy to get used to, though offer some challenge if looking to 100% everything, a likeable main character and a vibrant world to engage in, new character skins available from the start and various power-ups/weapon unlocks with a variety of boomerangs on offer. TY the Tasmanian Tiger HD doesn’t break new ground, but it retains the essential gameplay mechanics for a good platform game from yesteryear.
Other than the camera angles, my only real complaints would be the very easy combat and overuse of Australian idioms and slang. I became so aware of it that it felt like this was a game made by non-Australians as it was filled with cliches and seemed to try too hard. Also, nobody really cares too much for a tutorial, but it seemed like an age until the game got going, but when it did, it was worth it.
It’s refreshing to be able to get to play an older title in this mould. When it comes to platformers these days, the majority are pixel art 2D games. TY the Tasmanian Tiger wasn’t able to get the same accolades as Crash, Sonic (read the Sonic Mania review here) or Spyro, but for a nostalgic game such as this? Worth it if you’re a fan of the genre.
Review code provided
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 03/04/2020
No. of Players: 1
Category: Adventure, Action, Platformer
Developer: Krome Studios
Publisher: Krome Studios
Download link: eShop