Back when I was still a wee nipper with homework piling up, three girlfriends and a bank account that only contained a fiver from my Granny as a six-month late birthday present, I was pretty much a hardcore action-adventure platform game fanatic.
Over a decade later and things are still pretty much the same, except now the old-school platformers have all but died out and those three girlfriends no longer acknowledge my existence.
It’s refreshing, then, that TY still has a bit of life in him, despite having been dormant since TY 3 back in the days of the PS2, Xbox and Gamecube.
It’s a little known fact that TY actually made it to four main games in the series, mainly because TY 4 released exclusively for Windows 8. Sadly, TY 4 didn’t find as large an audience as Australian outfit Krome Studios had hoped, mainly because Windows 8 was a giant waste of time. C’mon, it’s alright to admit it now. It was poop. End of.
That’s all changed now, though, as TY has leaped his way onto Steam with TY 4. Bonza!
For those who remember the classic 3D action adventure games of years gone by, TY 4 isn’t quite like any of them. Sure, the character is still the same and he still chucks an assortment of boomerangs and bites bad guys on the arse when he gets cranky, just this time he’s doing it in a 2D platformer rather than a nice big explorable level.
One of the big appeals of TY back in the day was that the game levels were big, open environments that encouraged exploration. TY 4 doesn’t quite manage the same scale, but it’s a nice enough game in its own right and what exploration it does offer is just enough to satisfy that hunger, but it never leaves you stuffed to the brim.
The transition from 3D to 2D sidescroller has actually been quite kind to the aging hero. Characters are well rendered and animated, while the game’s levels also manage to catch the eye, if not the imagination.
TY 4 is basically the same game you played a decade ago, except it’s in 2D. The graphics may be pretty, the controls may be tight and responsive, but there’s nothing really added to the tried and tested formula; it’s all very familiar, just from a different perspective.
Boss fights are weak and at times downright annoying, but the general gameplay works well. It’s a shame, then, that the rich stories of past games doesn’t really fit in with what TY 4 is trying to achieve. Die-hard fans of the series will no doubt find it another enjoyable romp with the Aussie hero, newcomers ill be left underwhelmed and confused as to why this Tasmanian tiger is running around.
I’d hoped that the move to 2D would have brought with it some meaningful additions, but the reality is that it’s content with just being your run-of-the-mill platformer. That being said, it does have its own take on the classic tropes, whether it be arming up with different weapons (boomerang types) or playing as some of the members of TY’s gang, there’s enough content to warrant the cheap asking price and it’s still nice to see those boomerangs in action. Damn it’s been too long. You buy extra boomerang types throughout the game (not with real money, thankfully) but they feel a little undeserved, like you didn’t really earn them but instead just got them because you put a couple of hours into the game. It’s a shame because looking into the past, the TY games were all about effort/reward, but this time around it’s not really the case. Still, on its own merit it works nicely and if you’ve never played the originals (what, are you daft or something?!) then you’ll find nothing to complain about, but us nostalgic old farts will have a moan.
TY 4 does provide good value for money. There’s 40 levels to play through, each one containing a bunch of collectibles to, er, collect. There are also a few different game modes on offer, so if you fancy yourself as something of a speed runner you can take on the Time Attack mode or give the other ones a go. They’re not ground breaking by any means, but it’s nice to have the option to extend the already generous playtime by a few hours.
Despite there being lots to do, there’s not really much of a challenge, not in the main story mode at least. The difficulty never really peaks above “oh, right, that boomerang” and it’s quite forgiving in terms of taking damage, regular checkpoints and the like. That’s not a bad thing, especially for younger players who may be easily put off by dying constantly, but the lack of a real challenge will probably seem a bit laughable to those looking to test their gaming prowess. It’s as by-the-book as one can imagine, but again, that’s not a terrible thing.
TY 4 isn’t a bad game, but it’s nothing special, though the TY faithful following will be happy for a direct continuation in the series – even if it is missing the iconic voice actors who’ve been replaced by text.
TY 4 is out now and is available via Steam. The good news is that the developers may be looking to bring the original trilogy to PC and, just maybe, home consoles.
Disclaimer: Review code provided by Krome Studios.