Review by Neophoton

"Not quite a solid platformer, mate"

Australian studio Krome Studios introduces us to a brand new platformer starring an Australian character. Trust me, I initially thought this title to be a big “Americans view Australians as always saying ‘mate' and riding kangaroos” stereotype until I took notice of the developer working on this title.

While this multiplat title may be several years old, I decided to take up this title from my childhood once more and see exactly how dull I must have found this title to be. Besides, you can't go wrong with a game that is $3. It also reminds me that I disliked the sequels and only moderately enjoyed the original.

Plot: 5/10

Trite to an extreme fault, Ty the Tasmanian Tiger – whom we'll just refer to as Ty from here on out because that's a mouthful – is raised by Bilbies until he comes across a cave, learning of his ancestry.

As most of you have predicted with the “raised by bilbies” part, yes, he assumed himself to be the last of his kind. Certainly nothing we haven't seen before, because it has been done time and time again.

He is proven wrong in the light, as he finds out his family were all whisked away to… an alternate dimension or something? It might be my memory, but they never exactly stated where the other Tasmanian tigers wound up at. Maybe it's just a tongue-in-cheek comment about the actual creature itself being extinct, who knows?

Well, Ty quickly learns that the cause of the disappearance of his family is rooted to Boss Cass, a cassowary that wants to collect some magic talismans for the sake of being a villain. Dominating Australia or not, I don't know as they just made him evil for the sake of being evil.

This leaves Maurie, a cockatoo that is Ty's friend, to point him in the right way to collect Thunder Eggs (colorful geodes, with a question as to why they didn't just call them that) to power Julius the koala's machine that will fetch the talismans for Ty.

This game was clearly aimed at a younger audience, as I found myself extremely unimpressed at the lack of motivation inserted in this title. Yes, it's a platformer, but it doesn't exactly pardon it from bad writing as platformers can have good story writing – it just so happens this one has lazy story writing involved.

Graphics: 7/10

If it's one thing I give Ty credit for, it's for looking nice as far as multiplatform titles go. Generally, multiplat titles tend to look either average or just plain nasty. This title happens to fall slightly above average, so I can rest assured that some effort was put in.

The game was clearly going for a “Sonic the Hedgehog” look, judging by the short and rare CG movies that pop up in between bosses and new areas being unlocked. While this isn't a bad thing per se, it just felt all too much like they were attempting to mimic Sonic for all he was worth.

However, the game is not lost without any look of its own: the artwork is pretty nice, and the in-game graphics are pretty nice, but nothing special and definitely can't match some of the finer looking titles on PS2.

The level designs are fairly average, but definitely inspired by a lot of Australia's gorgeous geography that attract so much attention in the first place. Sadly, I felt that a lot of it was limited, but this is a PS2 title, so it's not as if it was pushing any limits in the first place.

Audio: 6/10

The game offers some nice Australian-inspired music for its levels, but this comes to a stop when you realized one thing: none of the music is memorable. It definitely isn't bad music, but it also isn't anything you'd find me listening to on Winamp or looking all over for a soundtrack release.

The voice overs are average and definitely nothing special. I trust some of the voice actors are from Australia, given the location of the game's developers, but a few voices sound as though they were forcing the accent down a bit too much. While that might sound normal here in America where the common assumption that is all Australians say “mate” and what not, I trust the rest of the world is beyond that.

Sound effects are all right, they sounded as if some effort was put into recording them and they just didn't go for whatever. The only two sound effects I remember by heart are Ty's bites and the boomerangs.

Gameplay: 6/10

You know, I give Ty a lot of credit about this: it sticks to the true simplistic platforming that made many of us adore the genre in the first place.

And yet this is also the game's downfall. Yes, it sticks to the usual formula to play it safe – that's always a sure way to go about it. You really can't fault a game much if it sticks to the general formula that its genre is known for.

In Ty the Tasmanian Tiger, you'll be running, jumping, throwing those boomerangs, and biting. And… that's actually about it. No, seriously. Ty's formula can't get any simpler than that.

While this may keep the youngsters busy for a couple of hours, many older players will find themselves to be disappointed when the gameplay doesn't even moderately change up within the 7 or so hours you'll be playing this game.

The only thing I can argue as a change up is the sole level that doesn't have you doing the usual platforming, but instead running about on a giant boar and smash stuff. Even then, that level gets pretty damn boring really quick.

The only other possible “new” mixes are the boomerangs that you can acquire by collecting Golden Cogs and taking them to Julius or the few that are handed out to you as the story progresses. The problem is that a lot of those boomerangs turn out to be fairly useless, particularly one you pick up the Megarang or anything else similar to it.

This brings me to my initial reasoning: while the game plays it safe in sticking to the usual platforming elements, Ty doesn't even attempt to offer anything new as you progress through the game, hoping that the elemental boomerangs would be more than enough to tie you over. Sadly, they don't do much in terms of anything new.

As a last point, this game takes up to Sonic the Hedgehog to such a degree that it even mimics the awful camera the 3D Sonic games are notorious for. It often angles itself in horrible ways and prevents you from actually knowing what is going on at times, but that doesn't exactly stop players from playing the game.

Difficulty: 4/10

Once again, this game was clearly made for a younger audience as the game's difficulty is very laughable.

Not once will you seriously die aside from the occasional huge fall and allowing the game to make a few odd decisions on what qualifies a huge fall. That and having an enemy sneak up on you as the aforementioned camera tends to be lazy and atrocious.

There will not be much to challenge in this game, as just about everything in this game revolves around being incredibly easy. Children, however, will definitely have a few struggles unless if they've played nothing but platformers in their life (ahem).

Enjoyment: 6/10

The game is fairly enjoyable, as it's simplistic and very easy to jump into for any player, giving it a load of accessibility. It definitely isn't addictive as there are far better platformers I can suggest to you that outperform this game in just about every way. For a cheap price tag, you really can't go wrong.

As far as I'm aware, I disliked the sequels compared to this one, as they weren't anything special and this one was the only title in the series to be moderately entertaining.

Replay Value: 4/10

Much like a few platformers, Ty doesn't offer much after being finished. The game will likely last you around 6 – 8 hours, possibly 9 if you are letting a child play this.

The most you can do is get whatever Thunder Eggs, Golden Cogs, Bilbies, and pictures for the art gallery that you are missing. Even then, I highly doubt many will be willing to play and go through the effort of finding the rest of these items as you likely not going to be rewarded for your efforts.

There are time attacks on each stage, but those are hardly enjoyable as you are only rewarded once for doing them and they serve as an easy Thunder Egg to be obtained.

With all the item fetching aside, I doubt this game will be moving enough to encourage you to play from scratch again as it definitely isn't a work of art – I'd much rather look to games with more effort invested into them for a better story, art direction, gameplay, music, and characters.

Overall: 5/10

Again, there isn't much to Ty in the first place. He seemed to just be piggybacking off animals mascots like Sonic and was late to the platforming mascot craze back in the 90's that were fueled by Sonic and Mario.

Ty had some potential, but a lot of it is thrown away when the developers seem afraid to try something new and tackle it with some confidence. In the event Krome Studios goes for a fourth Ty game, maybe they can do a rehash and start the series fresh in hopes of something better.

Reviewer's Rating:   2.5 - Playable

Originally Posted: 02/02/10

Game Release: Ty the Tasmanian Tiger (US, 10/09/02)

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