A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know temtem is a downloadable role-playing game for the PlayStation 5 and Windows PCs. It has players capture and tame a collection of colorful fantasy creatures before pitting them against other creatures in turn-based combat. There's no blood, gore, serious injury, or death. The creatures attack each other with bites, swipes, and magic spells (accompanied by flashes of light) until they're exhausted and need to rest. The story has a very upbeat vibe, with lots of characters offering guidance and support, and the main character -- who can be male or female -- happily offers to help others as requested. That said, some players may find the game's core mechanic -- catching wild animals and making them fight each other -- a bit disturbing. Parents should also note that this game will eventually offer cosmetic upgrades via microtransactions.
What's it about?
TEMTEM brings gotta-catch-'em-all gaming to PC and PlayStation 5. It's essentially a clone of Nintendo's beloved Pokemon franchise with some original online elements. Players take control of an avatar -- a boy or girl with a can-do attitude -- who works hard to become a temtem tamer. Temtem are fantastical animals that lurk in the fields outside of towns. You'll encounter them randomly during exploration, resulting in fights in which you command your own temtem in a battle to exhaust the enemy. Each temtem has their own attacks, defensive moves, strengths, and weaknesses that need to be understood and properly wielded to be effective. As the game progresses, players will explore new islands and take on renowned temtem Leaders. Temtem's biggest deviation from the Pokemon franchise is that it's designed as a massively multiplayer online role-playing game, which means in addition to the non-player characters you'll fight and learn from, the world's also populated by other players' avatars running around doing the same sorts of things you're doing. Co-operative and competitive play allow you to both team up with others to take on harder objectives as well as test your tamed temtem against those of your friends. Players can also customize their avatars and in-game homes to show off their style.
Is it any good?
Pokemon fans who dismiss this game simply because it's a copycat of Nintendo's long-running pocket monster franchise may be doing themselves a disservice. Temtem captures much of what players love about Pokemon, from its expansive cast of colorful, loveable fantasy animals and strategic turn-based combat (which requires a surprising amount of strategy the further you go), to its world design and primary objectives. Since it's running on more powerful hardware, it actually looks better than Pokemon games, giving players a more detailed world and smoother frame rates. Of course, there's something to be said for originality, but when a game so lovingly and expertly mimics key aspects of a perennial favorite, it's hard not to have fun.
It'll be interesting to watch how fans react to temtem's online elements, though. It's undeniably fun to see other players running around doing the same sorts of things you're doing, and the ability to join up with or compete against them can be both a nice distraction and a valuable aid in progressing further. But none of this is really necessary if you simply want to complete the story on your own. Some players -- especially those who prefer to play with friends rather than alone -- are bound to love the social aspect of online play, whereas others will simply choose to ignore it, in which case the game will likely end up feeling pretty much just like another Pokemon game. That's not a bad thing -- especially for kids who love Pokemon but don't have a Nintendo system on which to play. Temtem's obsession with Pokemon-style play and design can be interpreted as blatant stealing or loving homage. How you choose to see it is a good indication of whether it's a game for you.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in the media. Is the impact of the violence in temtem affected by its cartoonish visuals? Would more realistic imagery intensify its impact? The gameplay involves catching animals and making them fight each other, so what would you think if you saw this happen in the real world?
Do you think you could transform something you love to do for fun into a job or even a career? Can you think of examples of people who've done this?
- Platforms: PlayStation 5, Windows
- Price: $39.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Crema Games
- Release date: January 21, 2021
- Genre: Role-Playing
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures
- ESRB rating: E10+ for Alcohol Reference, Fantasy Violence, Mild Language
- Last updated: January 22, 2021
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.