Tamarin bears some striking resemblance to Jet Force Gemini — an N64 game in which you save a peaceful planet from an invading race of alien insects. The key difference, though, is that in the 1999 Rare title, you play as the titular group of galactic soldiers, while in Tamarin, you play as a tamarin. After a very familiar army of giant ants destroys the home of these cutesy monkeys, it's down to you to fight back, using your innate acrobatic skills and a series of weapons supplied to you by an arms dealer hedgehog.
If it sounds completely confounding, that's because it is. To look at it, you'd think this is your typical collect-a-thon platformer. Half of the game is exactly that, but it switches to a third person shooter when it comes time to slaughter the invading forces. It's a game so tonally at odds with itself that it's hilarious, but that's not its only problem. Gameplay on both sides of this bizarre title isn't great, with precision jumps and aiming your guns made awkward by a swimmy camera.
Then there's the level design. Intended to be somewhat open ended, each environment has dead ends with no reward, and it's never totally clear exactly where you're meant to go. Visually the game is okay but there are some bizarre effects happening that make certain characters and objects look blurry. Overall, it's just not particularly well made; music will drop out occasionally, some collectibles aren't fully explained, the writing isn't good, and it's awkward to control. Add onto all that the strange dual design that has you happily catching fireflies one minute and shooting ants until they explode the next, and we're not sure who this game is for. You may derive some pleasure from its sheer oddness, but that's about it.
What? You'd think that because it's made by Rare Employees, it would be good... I guess not.
I had a discussion with someone recently who thought they had to be on Switch instead of PS4, because it's made by an ex-Rare employee, and all the fans are on Switch or something. Well random internet person, know you are not missing out.
I think this game would be so much better with the inclusion of a map. Hard to believe this was in development for 7 years.
I was excited when I first heard about this but everything I've seen about it has just seemed weird.
An ex-Rare made platformer with a David Wise soundtrack should've been decent at worst. Unfortunately it looks like they forgot to actually make a game.
All of the gameplay just looks so empty and dull. Honestly there are far better platformers made in Dreams.
Absolutely losing it at the screenshot of this tiny cartoon monkey holding a pistol in what looks like a level from Goldeneye? What is this??
Jet Force Gemini is a true classic imo. Phenomenal but criminally underrated. So it's a bummer to see this fail to recapture that game's quirky magic.
Really liked the look of this when it was first announced but I saw someone do a playthrough recently and to be honest that score does not surprise me in the least.Dissapointing.
I'm halfway through this game.... It's a bit of a mess. The worst thing is, with a bit more direction, underneath it all there's actually something going on here. The collectable chasing levels are enjoyable enough. The shooting sections suffer from the wonky controls mentioned in the review.
With more of a specific tying crossover between the two gameplay styles it would work. The lack of direction overall also hurts the game.
The good... The music is ok, not David Wise's best but it does sound very N64'y at points which is good.
The bad... If this was released on N64 it'd go down as one of Rare's poorer games even then. Jet Force Gemini was great but not perfect and this game makes every single mistake that 20+ year old games already made. That's not nostalgia but flawed design.
Overall it's very disappointing. I'd give it a 4-5 but the 3 score isn't unwarranted either
Just watched a gameplay video of the first 15 minutes... wow, this is one unpolished t*rd.
I remember when the trailer for this launched. I thought "Oh look, a cute platformer! I might grab this when it comes out uh-- is that an Uzi? Why does the monkey have to bust caps in asses?"
Such a weird juxtaposed mess. I'd love to have been a fly on the wall for the pitch meeting.
Creative: "So you play as this cute tamarin--"
Exec: "A what?!?"
Creative: "Exactly! No one knew what an echidna was before Knuckles."
Exec: "I still don't. Let's wrap this up."
Creative: "A tamarin is a cute monkey. The game is a cute N64-style platformer where you save your animal kingdom or whatever from evil giant ants."
Exec: "Are there guns?"
Creative: "No, why would there be--"
Exec: "Give the monkey an Uzi and we'll greenlight it."
When my oldest son was in third grade many years ago, every student was assigned to research an animal. My son got Golden Lion Tamarin, which was fine. But then the teacher made every student do some kind of project on that animal every week for the rest of the year. Essays on Tamarins. Art projects on Tamarins. Speeches on Tamarins. On and on and on-by the end, our family had never been so sick of anything as we were of that stupid monkey.
I bring this up because Tamarins, while cute, are obviously evil and corrupt everything they touch. This game is just the latest example.
The arrogance to say it's tonally confused. Did you ever stop to think that was a purposeful choice? They chose to make a cute tamarin shoot guns. And to give the game a 3 is ridiculous. Three means completely unplayble; a broken game. This does not appear to be that. I would rather play this than The Last of Us 2.
Rare can't be nearly the same company they were back in the day. Probably time we stopped expecting good things from them.
@Exlee300p It's just one guy's opinion. If you want to play this over any other game that's your choice to make. Also, I don't know if you've got more info than me as to what different scores mean, but from what I can see, a 3/10 just means Bad. And this game doesn't seem good...
@Exlee300p Hello! You can learn more about what our scores mean by reading our scoring policy, linked under every review. A 3/10 from us doesn't mean we think a game is completely unplayable or broken.
Thanks for reading
@Westernwolf4 What a terrible, yet hilarious teacher. "Oh, your homework, forgot about that. Just er... Do something on Tamarins. Draw a picture and write some stuff, whatever.".
I thought this game looked totally confounding from the first image. Glad it wasn’t just me.
Sad to see so much potential wasted. It looks incredibly cute and fun to me. I don't agree about the tone at all (I actually find it refreshing and intentional), but if the controls are bad, then the game simply can't be fun.
I agree with pip_muzz. Underneath all that feels wrong there is some potential here. I have played through the two first locations and will try to complete the game just to see what happens. I was also very surprised that the swimmy camera is making me more nauseas than some of the more extreme PSVR games, could be because I whirl it around to much myself though. So if you want to test your own mind and see which strange uncomfortable feelings that arrive blasting insects with bad ass weapons as this overly cute character laying their bodies to rest with buzzing flies over them and seeing cute birds getting killed if you are too slow, this is a surprisingly weird mind-f**k I have not experienced in any other game ever.
I'd put "Honestly it's just really odd" in the Pros list!
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