A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
The story's upbeat, progressive tenor creates an positive, "I-can-do-anything-I-put-my-mind-to" atmosphere, and online play promotes positive online social interactions. But the core mechanic -- catching wild animals and pitting them against each other in heated battles -- may be a bit disturbing.
Positive Role Models
The player's character -- who can be male or female -- is a standard, good-spirited game hero who wants to become the best tamer possible and enjoys helping others with various tasks.
Ease of Play
A simple interface and plenty of guidance make this game very easy to learn, especially for players who have experience playing Pokemon. Some battles can be challenging, but a little practice and basic strategizing will usually result in success.
Violence & Scariness
Players command colorful fantasy creatures to attack each other in turn-based combat. They jump across the battlefield to claw, punch, bite, or cast magic spells, which are accompanied by flashes of light. There's no blood or gore, and the creatures are never permanently hurt.
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Products & Purchases
Optional cosmetic content is planned to be added post-launch via microtransactions. Gameplay is clearly influenced by the Pokemon franchise.
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.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.