Choose My Adventure: Hands-on with Temtem’s early access build before launch


Knowing that the Temtem character I was running was going to be reset at the time of launch, as voted on by you fine folks last week, did kind of dull my drive to dig into the game too deeply before launch, but I nevertheless have a pretty good feel of how the game’s early access build looks like and can more easily compare it against the full launch version when it goes live later this week.

It had been quite some time since I’ve been in this game overall, I should mention. The last time I jumped in before this run was in a stream this past May; before then I hadn’t played the game since January and February of 2020. To say that it’s been a long time is an understatement, but hitting the reset button prior to launch just made logical sense, so I’m glad the voting swung that way.

Also, I decided to get Houchic the floaty lizard thing instead of Smazee the punchy lion monkey.

Despite my time away, there were a few things that did kind of come immediately to memory. The opening sequence, for example, continues to be largely routine, especially for those who’ve played any of the Pokemon games that exist in the world. I also remember that this game can be kind of harsh, so I made sure that I took my time this playthrough instead of charging like mad into the main story beats.

This was primarily done in the classic single-player RPG fashion of grinding out enemies in the open world. Granted, fighting the mandatory fights en route to the regular story’s locations is where the bigger XP gains lie, but I also was not going to get spanked again, so I took a few moments to pull my slowly growing team of critters up to at minimum level 10.

Along the way, I started to appreciate Temtem’s near-carbon copy of its contemporary’s battle system. One of the more intriguing things about games like this is the interplay between monsters, building around elemental weaknesses and forming a team that synergizes. That most certainly is present here as I slowly got to learn more about what the creatures I had in tow were capable of and even found some fun interplay between a couple of monsters, namely Houchic and Swalee, since the former got a powered-up form of an attack simply because the latter was on the field at the same time.

I also learned that Kaku absolutely sucks.

Despite my best mental intentions of not getting too attached, the hours I spent grinding the monsters up to higher levels kind of dragged me in. Temtem really does a good job of triggering the JRPG tactical combat neurons in my brain, and soon I started to slowly learn what creatures coming before me were capable of and prepare myself to experiment when something new crossed my path. Sure, fighting in Temtem is not exactly new, unique, or novel, but even as a copy job, it really does it well and appears to have an addicting level of depth.

Still, I was beginning to run into some problems as I slowly made my way northward from my starting area – primarily the fact that healing items felt extremely stingy. I wasn’t exactly looking to be swimming in potions, but considering that most of the monster I have are incapable of regenerating their health – not even on a leveling up – I was kind of forced to cheese the grind and spin around in circles in the tall grass that was near a station that fully heals my team. It certainly wasn’t my proudest moment, but I also felt like I was left with little choice.

No more was this felt than when I decided to run off of the beaten path and continue to press north after I had gotten to my next required destination. The monster levels weren’t exactly insurmountable, but there were still moments when I was on my back heel, and being this far away from anywhere without an aid station saw my meager resources begin to run dry, which eventually turned into Tems getting laid out.

This was absolutely exacerbated by the frankly absurd number of mandatory fights I was forced in to. There were many times where it felt like I wasn’t able to take more than five steps before some random jerk stopped me dead in my tracks, vomited up a diatribe, and then forced me into a battle. Mercifully, this is going to be changed at launch, and XP progress will apparently be smoothed out some more as well. I sure hope so because I was starting to grow annoyed.

As I said, though, I wasn’t getting too attached. Or at least trying not to. It’s hard for me to not grow to love a doe-eyed butterfly thing, my psionic lizard friend, and a fluffy angry fox beast. Still, once I got to the town of Arissola – well before I was meant to – I decided I had seen enough and stopped playing: I have my baseline experience to draw from, and I’ve also learned a bit on what to try and prepare for at launch, so I think I’m ready to get started for real once the game fully releases.

Before we do that, however, there is one poll question that I do have to ask you fine folks, and it’s a question as old as the Pokemon series itself. Since I’ll be starting brand-new once again at launch, it’s only fair that I seek your opinion on which Tem should be my starter. This kind of question has been the source of a lot of gaming nerd debate in Pokemon, so I suspect regular players of Temtem have similarly strong feelings.

What critter should we start our journey off with?

  • Houchic. The mental Tem. (47%, 15 Votes)
  • Smazee. The melee Tem. (13%, 4 Votes)
  • Crystle. The crystal Tem. (41%, 13 Votes)

Total Voters: 32

Loading ... Loading ...

Polling will wrap up at its usual time of 1:00 p.m. EDT on Friday, September 9th. I’m assuming by then any typical MMO launch woes will be smoothed out by that point, or will be at least manageable levels of gnarly. Until then, I’m interested to see how 1.0 differs from 0.9, and I’m eager to get started on the game proper.

Welcome to Choose My Adventure, the column in which you join Chris each week as he journeys through mystical lands on fantastic adventures – and you get to decide his fate. Which is good because he can often be a pretty indecisive person unless he’s ordering a burger.
Previous articleLegends of Aria details its upcoming jail system, heralds it as ‘the first ever metaverse prison’
Next articleChimeraland promises to improve localization, smooth its power level curve, and add cross-server matching

No posts to display

oldest most liked
Inline Feedback
View all comments