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Review By: Jesse Mason
Developer:   Whoopee Camp
Publisher:   Sony
# of Players:   1
Genre:   Platformer
ESRB:   Everyone

First, there were cute games that harkened in the days of the NES and the Super NES. They were filled with cute animals, cuter bad guys, and even cuter scenery. Most were played and forgotten. Then, the Playstation came and had its new "mature attitude." Cutey patutey games were replaced by violent games where you blow up stuff. But surprisingly, games with cute aspects did survive! But now, they are just strange. Tomba!, with its story involving evil pigs and hidden jokes, is a strange game like those.

Right from the start, when you see plants in the shape of butts that, when jumped on, squirt out gas, you know this is no nostalgia ridden game. This is also no platformer. Tomba, your hero, travels a continuous journey from start to finish; there are no levels. But Tomba is hardly an adventure. Tomba! substitutes tasks for levels. When you do a task, another one will open up that will (probably) let you go a little further on your adventure. The tasks range from simple "Find X item and bring it back to me" to "Stop the Fight!" to whatever. It makes it feel like you're playing a "mission" 3D Platformer like Super Mario 64, only with more adventure game-esque tasks. The tasks give the game a very fresh feel and show that originality need not come from an advanced polygon development system.

Tomba is a very likable, but dimwitted, caveman. He has a lot of character, and a franchise won't be shunned by myself. His enemies are the evil pigs who stole his grandpa's bracelet. Apparently, the pigs are also to blame with the several depressed towns along the way. Tomba kills his enemies by jumping on their backs and throwing them (it looks sicker than it is). However, a lot of time the messy control and bad hit detection causes you to miss your target and, consequently, lose a life or some energy.

As I've said before, if you're gonna do a game, have some imagination. "Kiddy" games require more than the standard, and the reason many of them fail is a lack of it. Tomba does not fall short. It plays like a story book complete with friendly dwarves. The graphics back this up with nice looking worlds and plenty of bright colors. The music is nice, if a bit tired.

With the glut of titles nowadays being shooters with no reason to exist other than to bore people with their splattering blood and mediocre gameplay, Tomba! is a refreshing change of pace. Strange, yet completely fun.

Overall: 7.9
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