Mini Review: Tamarin - Tonally Confused Monkey Business
Is that a monkey? He's got a gun!by Stephen Tailby
Action, Adventure, Platformer, Shooter
PlayStation Network Release Date:
10th Sep 2020 (USA)
10th Sep 2020 (UK/EU)
Where to buy:
Buy on Amazon
Version Reviewed: PS4 (Standard) / European
Tamarin bears some striking resemblance to Jet Force Gemini — an N64 game in which you save a peaceful planet from an invading race of alien insects. The key difference, though, is that in the 1999 Rare title, you play as the titular group of galactic soldiers, while in Tamarin, you play as a tamarin. After a very familiar army of giant ants destroys the home of these cutesy monkeys, it's down to you to fight back, using your innate acrobatic skills and a series of weapons supplied to you by an arms dealer hedgehog.
If it sounds completely confounding, that's because it is. To look at it, you'd think this is your typical collect-a-thon platformer. Half of the game is exactly that, but it switches to a third person shooter when it comes time to slaughter the invading forces. It's a game so tonally at odds with itself that it's hilarious, but that's not its only problem. Gameplay on both sides of this bizarre title isn't great, with precision jumps and aiming your guns made awkward by a swimmy camera.
Then there's the level design. Intended to be somewhat open ended, each environment has dead ends with no reward, and it's never totally clear exactly where you're meant to go. Visually the game is okay but there are some bizarre effects happening that make certain characters and objects look blurry. Overall, it's just not particularly well made; music will drop out occasionally, some collectibles aren't fully explained, the writing isn't good, and it's awkward to control. Add onto all that the strange dual design that has you happily catching fireflies one minute and shooting ants until they explode the next, and we're not sure who this game is for. You may derive some pleasure from its sheer oddness, but that's about it.