Temtem immediately creates familiar feelings when it asks you to choose between three starters. That’s the point, of course, as Temtem is meant to be the Pokemon MMO that the Pokemon Company doesn’t seem to want. So I appreciated the familiarity for what it was, picked the Mental type Houchic, and set off into the tall grass. After a few battles, however, I realized I had no idea what I was doing – and that makes Temtem infinitely more exciting.
Temtem, like Pokemon before it, uses a type system of weaknesses and resistances that plays out like a complicated version of Rock-Paper-Scissors. The difference for me is that I have Pokemon’s version committed to memory – 25 years of fandom will do that to you. It’ll also give you a solid grasp on Pokemon’s design traditions, enough to predict them. Even if the look of Pokemon change to suit the times, you can still figure out a new Pokemon’s typing based on its look. This takes away some of the fun of discovering new Pokemon, as countering them is just a matter of remembering decades-old relationships.
Guessing Temtem types is pretty easy too, but that doesn’t mean I know how to counter them. My little buddy Houchic is a Mental type, which seems to be Temtem’s version of Psychic. Psychic is weak to Ghost and Dark, but Temtem doesn’t have that. Instead, I’m told that Houchic is weak to Crystal types. That doesn’t seem too hard to grasp, and Crystal types should be easy to spot since I imagine they’ll have crystals on their body. But what if a Temtem that doesn’t seem like a Crystal type uses a Crystal type move? That unknown adds a layer of strategy to Temtem battles that I haven’t gotten from Pokemon in some time.
On top of that is another layer in that Temtem’s standard is 2v2 battles. There are two opponents to consider, and I have another Temtem to field beside Houchic. Do I anticipate a Crystal type and try to cover the weakness, or do I pick something that covers other bases entirely? Again, it takes me back to the start of my Pokemon journey. That alone makes Temtem worth the price of admission.
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