Temtem has come over the past few months like a bolt of lightning. Developed by the small Spanish software house Cream, and published by Humble Bundle, the game managed to enter the market at an extremely favorable moment. The early access of the title was made available on Steam last January, promising to arrive at the official launch also on consoles, in a historical moment in which a part of the fanatics of the Pokémon universe were (and still are) strongly unhappy of the latest licensed products distributed. From Pokémon Sword and Shield, many expected that extra gear that, in fact, has not arrived. Temtem's announcement has for many represented a glimmer of hope, seeing in that product, whose inspiration has never been hidden by the creators, the Holy Grail as well as what should have become the Japanese brand over the years.

Today I will therefore try to frame the main differences between the game in question and the iterations with the pocket monsters as protagonists. We will therefore see, at the end of this examination, if indeed the two paths traveled are so different that they can split a certain type of user into two.

Bello 'I'm Temtem!

The first difference from which you are overwhelmed from the first glance at the title is clearly the difference between the type of creatures and their design.

If for Pokèmon over the years there has been an effective evolution in the creation process of monsters, as well as in their design, for Temtem the discourse is fundamentally different. The creatures present in the game currently, just over 80 at the moment, have a highly heterogeneous trait among them. Just scroll through the official list to realize that some are clearly inspirational Sugimorian, while others are almost comparable to Digimon. Some of the creatures were even conceived based on Pokémon fan art. In general, the level of what is proposed by the Spanish authors is sufficient, although in my opinion not comparable with what has been seen over the years in the Game Freak games.

In Temtem there are 12 typesthree less than the first generation of Pokémon. Although there are a couple of differences, such as digital and crystal creatures, the scheme proposed by Crema does not differ much from what we have come to know in the last twenty years: an electric type beats water, while the latter wins on the fire. The difference in the number of elemental typologies between the two productions is found in the fact that some elements have been merged. I speak, for example, of grass and beetle, which can be classified in Temtem under the term Nature. In any case, this simplification does not undermine the complexity of the combat system which, as reported below, finds a certain depth in many other mechanics.

Clearly, it is not excluded that new types of monsters may be included in the final version of the title, also due to the structure of the game in question. This, however, is another matter.

Open world and checkers

Temtem-POV

Temtem was accomplishing using Unity. Sword and Shield through the use of the Unreal Engine. Which of the two is objectively more beautiful? Difficult to say.

The first is basically Cleaner in its textures (except for the faces of human characters that are inexplicably anachronistic), while the second turns out to be generally more complex polygonal. However surrogate the game may seem a little simpleton from the images, I assure you that, pad in hand, it turns out to be really very pleasant. Plus the animations, as well as some details like the proportions of the creatures and theirs spawn point of the techniques used, they are perhaps more refined than the higher production, which pays a pledge for the incredible amount of content offered.

However, I invite you not to give too much weight to this technical examination as the two reference products are currently available developed for two different platforms (one day, however, a direct comparison between the Switch versions of the two titles will be possible).

Much more interesting speech is that of the level design and all the choices that revolve around it. Temtem is based on a structure of the game world at least similar to that proposed by Pokémon Let's Go Pikachu and Eevee: fixed camera and map composed of tiles (the famous large squares). However, there are no wild creatures visible outside the combat instances, but the classic tall grass. Behind ours Tamer however, the team's first monster will always be clearly visible.

The title map conveys a great deal sense of breadth and is able to hide (in outdoor environments at least) an absolutely linear progression. This happens thanks to the longevity that the travel of the environments offers. Don't expect an open world title: Temtem offers the classic scheme of inhabited centers or places of interest interspersed with paths. Compared to Pokémon, however, the paths are definitely longer and more complex, and the cities made up of a good number of buildings and population (the houses, however, are always without toilets).

Without going into the variety of environments proposed by the guys from Cream (for that there will be in due time the appropriate review of the final version of the game), the feeling is that of a title that wants to propose a decisive evolution of the classical structure offered by Masuda and colleagues during the era of titles developed on portable platforms. If he were then to seek and find a direct, pass me the term, "ancestor" of Temtem, I would indicate Pokémon Mold Silver & Hearth Gold.

Sliding doors

In recent lines, mention has been made of the game structure. This is probably the biggest difference between the two brands. Temtem actually offers an experience more like a MMO compared to what has been seen over the years in the series created by Satoshi Tajiri. The map is populated by other players connected to the internet, which move in real time, with which it is possible to interact for exchanges and struggles. There is a possibility of face the game in cooperative and there is a mission system, the latter requested loudly and sensationally absent from time immemorial in Pokémon games.

Il combat system by Temtem, although conceptually based on the same premises of the counterparty both for the dynamics and for the management of the statistics, it appears to be much more balanced. There are no obvious struggles unless there is a really large gap. Even a battle in which he sees us in favor of a type could be difficult to complete. If we add to this the longevity of the paths praised above, we obtain an urgent need to use tools to recover energy.

The techniques used are devoid of PP: creatures indeed have one bar similar to that of mana and shared for all four available moves. To reload this bar, you must grant a turn by resting the Temtem free of usable points. This very small difference is able to completely change the clashes, adding one layer of complexity to the combat system well-run in the original series. Furthermore, the absence of a shared experience should be mentioned.

From this point of view, Temtem offers exactly what Game Freak has decided, for the most disparate reasons, not to grant its users. It could indeed be two parallel paths. Apparently they seem to be the same product, but it is almost as if Crema had been born from a rib of the much more famous Japanese software house about fifteen years ago, taking a different path even if based on the same premises.

Where Pokémon offers more experience user friendly and suitable for being enjoyed by a huge audience (breeding and competitive let's not take it into consideration at the moment, as Temtem does not yet offer a competitive scenario), Temtem focuses decisively on difficulty of clashes and the depth offered by mission system.

At this point is it possible to say which is the best product? No, because Temtem and Pokémon they offer two similar experiences at first glance, based on the same premise, but deeply different once you have completely entered the game world and its mechanics.

The original does not need advertising. Players always find Pokémon cyclically there, ready to welcome them into their reassuring arms, sipping the news and retaining some essential dogmas.

Temtem is on the other hand able to overwhelm you with a title that could conceptually offer (many) discontented people what they need. Probably once complete, it will go to grab the dry-mouthed market made up of players who have grown up with the Japanese brand but are eager for change and an experience capable of aligning with the today's standards for the multiplayer sector; as well as by those who have always praised a too marked childhood in the dialogues and in the management of the narrative given by the authors of Game Freak.

Currently the guys from Crema have announced the news which will be included in the next year directly within theEarly Access. There is talk of new creatures, new missions and new explorable areas. It is still too early to understand if The Pokémon Company will really have to worry about the phenomenon of this early 2020, but certainly the conditions for one healthy competition everyone is already there.