Tomba! Review

By: John Doe

"Featuring more evil pigs than RE2!"

Side scrolling fans unite. Tomba! has arrived in style! I can tell you that still magazine screen shots donít do this game justice. This game just didnít jump out and grab me, when I saw it in the magazines. It looked like an old 16 bit version of WonderBoy, especially those bananas! I was wrong and I was wrong big time. Tomba! is one of the best side scrollers Iíve played in a long time.

Tomba is a small wild man like creature with flaming pink hair. Almost like a white son of Blanka, if you can picture it. He can jump, swing, use a weapon, climb walls, and even dispose of enemies by jumping on their backs and tossing them out of the way.

The game is very cartoony, from the anime style intro down to the colorful levels and graphics. To say itís just a side scroller is really not giving it enough credit. There are a lot of RPG elements in this game as well, because Tomba is sent on so many quests. In fact, he may be working on several different quests at the same time! As Tomba finds items, he stores them (much like an RPG). He may need to bring the item to someone, or use it to further his quest. There are tons of things to find and use, from tornadoís to pants!

As Tomba makes his way through the worlds he often has to move his way into the background to find other items or areas. This is done by turning and facing the background and jumping on to a wall. Once clinging to the wall, Tomba can climb up it and access other places. Of course, it is also possible to re-enter the foreground where you started playing. This adds a great feeling of 3D without ever losing that 2D feel. You will be amazed at how 3D these environments look at certain times. This is really quite unique and although this style of gameplay was attempted in parts of Crash Bandicoot and Disneyís Hercules, it is clearly perfected in Tomba.

There isnít a lot you wonít like in Tomba. The control is tight and responsive, just like those 16 bit classics itís modeled after used to feel. The graphics and animation are perfect. The story is wacky enough and varied enough that you will never be bored. Even for a minute.

Tomba takes the side scrolling genre to a new level thanks to Whoopee Camp (the games developer). Itís not hard to see that their experience has been in this style of game. However itís taken an upgrade in technology to push the genre a little further. Youíll love finding all the nooks and crannies that you can get into. This game isnít about extreme hard-core pull-your-hair-out difficulty so youíll make your way through quickly, but since there is so much to do and see and people to talk to, youíll be in Tombaís world for a long time. And if you are like me, youíll love every minute of it. This unique title is highly recommended for kids and adults alike.

Final Analysis:

Rating Legend 1-10 (10 being the highest mark)
Graphics: 9.0
Control: 9.5
Music/FX: 8.0 (Updated 16 bit fare)
Innovation: 9.0 (The 3D and the RPG elements add a lot)
Replayability: 9.0
Frustration: 3.0 (Itís fun not frustrating!)
Longevity: A good long time.
Rent or Buy: Buy if you miss the good old days of 16 bit side-scrollers.

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