Home > Chronological Challenge > Chronological Challenge – Tomba!

Chronological Challenge – Tomba!

December 15, 2015 Leave a comment Go to comments

And here we are, the final game of 1997 in my challenge! Sorry for all the delays in posting reviews, but we’re here now so it’s all good!

This will be the last review I post for a little while as I’m going to be taking a break over the Christmas and New Year weeks to get my head in a better space so I can decide on ways to make this blog and my YouTube channel better. I’ll be posting a year-end retrospective and thoughts on what I’m looking forward to in 2016 during those two weeks, but that’s all until the new year, so enjoy this for now and I’ll see you soon!

Publisher: SCE | Developer: Whoopee Camp | Released: December 1997 (Japan)
Original System: PlayStation
Played on: PS3 (PSN release)

Goal: Defeat the Evil Pigs

Actual Outcome: All Evil Pigs sealed in their tiny purses

I remember renting Tomba, known as Tombi in the UK for some reason, and thinking it was kind of fun, but for some reason I never got the full game. On a whim, I decided to buy it while playing through my challenge so I could finally play it through in full.

This is a weird hybrid of 2D platformer and JRPG. You play the titular character, who is an anime caveman with pink hair and an apparent love of wrestling, as he journeys through a weird land in an attempt to get his grandfather’s bracelet back from a group of evil pigs. It’s a very silly game for the most part, as the world is somewhat nonsensical and Tomba’s quest is little more than a combination of lots of smaller quests.

It’s a lot of fun though. The hybrid gameplay makes for an interesting and memorable experience, and the multi-layered 3D effects make the gameplay stand out from its peers. It’s a very experimental experience, and it hits its mark a lot more than it misses.

Its misses are mostly in certain areas that caused me serious problems due to a weird difficulty curve. The Lava Caves were a test of patience for the most part, with their tendency to hide your progress off-screen and sheer number of enemies flying around your head making it very easy to be knocked off the tiny platforms into oblivion time and time again. The jungle area also felt a little too tricky to navigate, as you were often forced into small spaces with enemies who jumped fairly randomly. Some of the boss fights, where you always had to throw a pig into a giant purse, were a little awkward in the purse’s placement, or the pig’s attacks had a weird hitbox that caused me to take damage when I was sure I was safely far away.

But on the whole Tomba is a fun, imaginative experience that I enjoyed. Tomba himself is fairly cute as pink-haired cavemen go, and the weird surprises of the world feel like they fit an internal logic. The goal-oriented gameplay, where the world opens as you help people and complete specific objectives, gives it an almost Metroidvania feel at times. And you know how I feel about those.

In essence, Tomba is a cute, inventive game that stands out with its own style, and despite some frustrations, I enjoyed it.

And that’s that for now. As I said, I’ll see you again in the new year with hopefully a new and improved Cheap Ferret. Thank you to everyone for following, liking and commenting in 2015, and let’s look forward to 2016! (Where I’ll talk a lot about 1998)

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