Developer: Chameleon Games
Publisher: Chameleon Games
Genre: Action, Adventure, Indie, Platformer
Available On: PC and PlayStation 4
Official Site: Tamarin
Release Date: September 10th, 2020
Version Tested: PlayStation 4
Who doesn’t enjoy a totally ridiculous game every once in awhile? When the main tamarin is given a pistol and then a machine gun in this 3D platformer, I was totally ready for a game full of charm and character. Sadly, Tamarin did not deliver on that front. While sporting cute characters and oozing with nostalgic vibes, this holds no competition to its Rare predecessors.
At its core, Tamarin has an environmentally-friendly message:
Leap into action and discover nature in Tamarin, a third-person action-adventure game set in beautiful Nordic scenery, starring the world’s cutest monkey. Pollution and destruction from ever-expanding insects sets the agile monkey into a fight for his family’s survival.
Explore an incredible interconnected 3D world, brimming with primate platforming and bug-splattering shooter action. Leap with the agility of a tamarin as you journey into the Northern wilderness on scenic routes through forests, fjords and mountains. Along the way you will chase mysterious electrical fireflies, discover a secret underground world of dancing ants, rescue innocent birds, and restore the tamarins’ once idyllic natural habitat.
Swing And A Miss
Needless to say, a fuzzy monkey with a pistol seems like it should be a knockout concept. But it’s execution is… not great. At best. A shooter seems somewhat out of place for the genre, but a bold choice nonetheless. But the gun is hard to control and it’s almost impossible to intentionally hit flying or moving characters. So, more times than not, the gameplay ends up more frustrating than it needs to be. As your weapon arsenal grows, the weapons don’t feel that different from one another aside from when Tamarin tells you to use various weapons.
With David Wise at the helm musically, one would expect that at least the soundtrack would be a shining star. However, it’s rather disappointing, along with the sound design as a whole. The music often feels somewhat out of place or more generic than anything else. At times, there would be no music at all, which only felt odd and out of place. With such a fun idea, it’s really disappointing that the sound design didn’t take advantage of the characters that they had.
My biggest complaint is just how bland Tamarin is. Through the whole game, I couldn’t help feeling like the game was missing something, but I think it was missing a lot of things. None of the tamarins have names, there’s little to no dialogue and the player is just thrown into the world without much backstory. All of these choices create a narrative and a band of characters that aren’t memorable or worth caring about. Without either of those things to care about, it only continues to fall apart from there.
At Least Tamarin is Cute
The best thing this 3D platformer has going for it is the artistic design. The tamarins are fuzzy and adorable, and, honestly, make for a great group of main character. The enemy bugs have pretty cool designs as well, and the 3D atmosphere captures the magical quality of the Nordic wilds perfectly. It’s a shame that the rest of the game doesn’t shine the same way the artistic design does.
This so badly wants to shine like its Rare predecessors, such as Banjo-Kazzooie, but it just doesn’t make the cut. Rare games are classics because they’re full of charm, engaging gameplay and bold choices that revolutionized gaming. With such a rich history behind it, it makes Tamarin’s overall blandness even more disappointing. If you’re looking for something to scratch that nostalgic itch, maybe just check out Rare Replay instead.
Verdict: I really wanted to give Tamarin a stellar review. The creators at Rare shaped some of my favorite gaming experiences, and I had such high hopes for this adorable platformer. However, this was ultimately a swing and a miss. From top to bottom, Tamarin is in a word bland. Muddy controls and poor sound design aside, this game is full of missed opportunities and a lack of character. Tamarin is alright, at best, and while it might fill the nostalgic void for a moment, it’s not super memorable at the end.
- Adorable tamarins
- Nostalgic vibes
- Felt super bland
- Frustrating controls
- Odd sound design