Temtem first impressions and I’ve never played a Pokémon game
An early love for taming and training creatures
The title might have been a slight lie, I have played about 5 minutes of Pokémon Go back when it came out. But apart from that 5 minutes, I am a complete newb when it comes to all things Pokemon. I will not deny that I was envious of those who had a Gameboy and more recently, a Nintendo Switch. The Pokemon games always looked fantastic to play and catching and training monsters always seemed like it could be fun. Due to my lack of experience, my Temtem first impressions are fresh.
Thinking back, it is strange that I never attempted to play one of the Pokemon games as I enjoy games where I can have pets or monsters and train them. I vividly remember my time in Ultima Online where I spent countless hours as a tamer, training my Cu Sidhe in the Covetous dungeon. But alas, here I am at the doorstep of the new kid on the block, Temtem.
Starting from well, the start
While I anxiously waited for the early access release timer to count down on Steam, I expected the download to take me around an hour. I was pleasantly surprised to find that that the download size was just more than 1gb taking me mere minutes to download and install. My excitement was immediately met with disappointment as I was number 17,788 in the login queue. Luckily, Slay the Spire just received a new character, so I played that while I waited.
As I finally beat the queue I am greeted by a plain yet functional main menu. I immediately dive into the graphics settings to ensure I set everything to ultra. As soon as I appeased my eyes, I started a new game.
Creating my tamer
I enjoy customising my character. I will rarely venture into the area of facial reconstruction but I also don’t want to choose from a list of templates. Temtem’s character creator was therefore right up my alley. My go-to name “Lestat” is taken, so I opted for my backup “Xardas” named after the famous necromancer from the Gothic series. I created a cool looking (at least I think so) character with relative ease and speed and then hopped over into the main game.
My first steps into the Archipelago was quite modest as I spawned in my bedroom fast asleep. As with real-life teenagers, I am rudely woken up by Aina who seems to be my mother or something similar. She reminds me that today is my Apprentice’s Eve, apparently it is an event of great importance. However, it seems that I place no real value on the event as the whole town of Zadar was outside my house while I was peacefully sleeping. As I exit the house I am congratulated by many of the townsfolk who obviously waited patiently for me to rise from my slumber. Here I meet two of the main characters in the narrative, Max and Prof Konstantinos. After a short interaction, I am left to roam wherever I please.
First impressions of the Temtem world
In my opinion the colour palette is fantastic. I like how the world is created with pastel colours. Certain objects are saturated slightly more to make them stand out. This style also complements how the character and Temtem models look. If I have to use one word to describe the world of Temtem, I would have to say “relaxing”. All the bodies of water I have encountered reflect tranquility and the fields of long grass are extremely satisfying to run through. So much so that I used all of my early healing items in the first two patches of grass fighting wild Temtem. Every time I after I ran my pattern through the grass, I found myself saying, “just one more!”.
The buildings are less interesting, with the same generic look used in different ways to build the towns. The building interiors follow the same trend. I haven’t reached the stage where I can access player housing yet, but I hope there is more variety available to players. The Temtem shops look slightly different than the other buildings and that makes them easy to identify in each hub location.
While the interiors of the shops are nothing exciting, you find some important equipment there. The first is the healing station. Here you can heal your Temtem and replenish some of your healing items such as the Temessence Vial. The second is a console where you can swap out your Temtems to build your squad. Lastly there is a vendor where you can buy many items necessary to succeed in your adventures.
First impressions of the Temtem battles
A lot of the game revolves around the Temtem battles, or so it would seem. Based on my experience, the battles are merely a means to an end. The satisfaction of the battles are not to be found in the depth of strategy or in the player’s skill. Rather, you find satisfaction in the evolution of your Temtems. Seeing their stats grow and abilities evolve is extremely satisfying. As a newb to all things Pokemon, seeing one of my Temtems evolving into a better version gave me a serious dopamine hit.
The battles themselves have rapid conclusions. This works well as most of the encounters in the wild doesn’t offer much in terms of strategy. I have not reached the dojo battles yet so I might still surprise myself in terms of the skill needed to win battles. I think the style and pacing of the battles complement the relaxed nature of the game well.
Temtem as an MMO?
I have played many MMO’s during my gaming career and I honestly enjoy the social aspect of this genre. For the time being chat is disabled in Temtem, so players will have to rely on other means to communicate. Apart from the social aspect of MMO’s I live for the group content. So far I have yet to see any content geared toward groups of tamers (apart from the co-op). It’s nice to see other tamers running around the place, but I hope their existence will be more meaningful in the game’s future. My Temtem first impressions for the MMO aspect of the game is not fantastic.
Wrapping up my thoughts
My first impressions of Temtem amounts to a pleasant experience. It is relaxing to play and provides enough reasons to return for more. The Temtems have interesting and sometimes cute models and training them is a satisfying experience. I do however hope to see more MMO focussed systems in the game, but only time will tell if this will happen. That’s a wrap for my first impressions, see you in the Archipelago!