Review by clarkisdark
"It's a Ty!"
Most games geared towards kids rely too heavily on their license and/or franchise, and therefore are of poor quality. Ty, however, has no pre-established lineage and must impress with his actual gameplay. I must admit, the game is surprisingly well-off for a first-timer. That's not to say the game is perfect, though. Nor is it entirely fun, either.
The pre-rendered cutscenes are rather impressive. In-game, things start to lag. The game keeps a healthy framerate, but the animation is lackluster and often times behaves rather oddly (observe the non-playable characters). Most of the levels also have rather uninspired visual designs and are cluttered with bland-looking objects. In fact, the game likes to place things in levels that look like they can be climbed and explored, only to push you away with a blatant invisible wall. Nobody likes you, invisible walls.
This is really the best part of the game. The charming and fun voice acting really brings the characters to life. I love the music, too. It is some of the greatest game music I have ever heard and really captures the feel of being in an Australian locale. Most of the songs are very catchy, and it's obvious a lot of work went into creating the soundtrack. Give that guy a raise, already!
It's a basic platform game. You'll do a fair share of running around, jumping, swimming, and throwing boomerangs. And... that's about it, really. You start in a hub world and venture off into various levels. There are only really nine levels in the game, and of these, few feel very open and free. The linear nature isn't bad, though. They're fun the first time through. Like most platformers, though, your job is to scout out these levels in depth and find all sorts of goods. Yes, lots of item collecting. This begins by putting everything in plain view, then deviously hiding the last one or two things you need to finish up. Needless to say, while each level starts out new and exciting and fresh, this redundant fetching turns them sour. And every mission is practically the same. Go find this. Beat the baddies. The goods you find can be put to use to open up new levels and grant you use of new boomerangs. These 'rangs open up a lot of possibilities, but are never fully exploited.
The camera is difficult to maintain and swings around at a nauseating pace. Moving Ty has about the same effect. It's too quick, and that's only the beginning. Grabbing ledges is always a gamble as you never know if Ty's going to actually grab it or not. Using Ty's boomerangs is ridiculously easy, though. The host of enemies you'll encounter can quickly be beaten by tapping the B button and letting the 'rangs do the rest. No skill required.
For being a kid's game, it seemed to deal a lot of tough cards. Boss battles are unfair and vague. Item collecting can get very tedious. The wacky controls of Ty can turn a simple hop-and-a-jump into a nightmare. The indecisive ledge grabbing caused me quite a bit of grief, doubled by the camera's and Ty's touchy movements, which usually made me fall off a platform I spent a long time trying to get to. For less experienced gamers, frustration will be very high.
Give yourself about ten hours to beat the game and another three or four to find everything. By the time you get to this "item collection frenzy," however, the game runs out of appeal. Finding everything only opens up an extremely lame bonus world, anyway. While Ty encourages you to replay all your favorite levels (events are reset every time you enter a level), there's no need to. It's all very basic and run-of-the-mill. Even the slip n' slides in some levels weren't enough enticement for me to say, "I want to come back here and dink around."
It's hard for me to recommend this game since I can name a lot of others you should play first (Super Mario Sunshine, Wind Waker, Beyond Good & Evil, Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy, Pitfall, I-Ninja). However, if you like the cookie-cutter recipe for platformers, rest assure that Ty follows it closely. There's nothing real exciting about this world. Playing the game felt just like that: playing a game. It didn't feel like I was doing much. Experienced gamers can find more to enjoy in something a bit more intricate. Younger gamers will take to Ty's charm and easy gameplay, but might get a bit frustrated with the poor design. Ty is a mediocre game a cut above the rest of the kid fair, but doesn't strike it rich by any means.
+ Great sound quality
+ Fun level design
-- Generic gameplay
-- Frustrating control
-- Tedious item collecting
Reviewer's Rating: 2.5 - Playable
Originally Posted: 03/24/04, Updated 01/04/05
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