Returning to the Outback
Ty the Tasmanian Tiger was originally a quirky, multi-console platformer title created by the lovable chaps at Krome Studios. While Ty may not have made it up there with Sonic and Spyro in terms of memorable animal mascots, he certainly had something different to offer in the petting zoo of gaming icons. People who did play the original title certainly remembered it for its fun soundtrack, exaggerated characters and its unique combat style. Now the game has been ported over to Steam via Early Access to quite a positive reception, allowing Ty’s adventure to be enjoyed by old and new fans alike.
The story follows the adventure of one thylacine (tasmanian tiger to you and I) named Ty who has grown up thinking he was the last of his kind. He discovers that his family are trapped in an alternative realm, put there by the evil Boss Cass who wants to rid the Outback of all mammals. With his trusty set of boomerangs and some razor sharp teeth it is down to Ty to swim, jump and climb his way through the Australian outback to find a way to save his family and defeat the nefarious Boss Cass.
As it goes the story is simple enough to follow, with cartoonish slapstick and some cheesy Aussie-based puns sprinkled throughout the dialogue. He isn’t alone on his quest though as he is aided by a whole host of critters willing to help him out. This ranges from his love interest Sheila the Dingo, to his best friend Maurie the Cockatoo who helps you through stages and tutorials. The brilliant scientist Julius the Koala aids Ty in jumping to the different hub worlds as well as upgrading his weapon of choice, the boomerang. The whole cast all have their little niches and quirks but it is all relatively harmless, considering this was a game of the early 2000s where jokes and puns were rampant in this genre.
The game play is also quick to pick up after the very first tutorial. Ty has two methods of attacking the various reptile henchmen he has to face. First his signature weapon, two boomerangs, which can be aimed and thrown from a long distance. This is a great way to be able to scout ahead and take out threats from a safe distance. The boomerangs can also be used to look for hidden areas or attack buttons and switches that are normally out of reach for the fuzzy hero. Ty starts out with standard boomerangs but progressing through the game will allow him to gain upgrades for them that can let him use element-based attacks or deal massive damage.
For those wanting to get right into the fray of battle, Ty also has a chomping attack for close up enemies, though this method is not nearly as instant or quick as the boomerangs. Other than that Ty has a standard set of skills seen in most platforming heroes – he can climb, swim in water areas as well as jump from point A to point B. There are also a few boss battles at the end of most hub worlds, preventing you from progressing any further. These goons of Boss Cass usually require a certain boomerang upgrade as well in order to defeat them, so you will want to try and collect all the necessary items required for gaining your new gear.
What exactly does the port have to offer compared to the original title? There have been some improvements to the camera first of all which back in the day suffered from having a mind of its own sometimes. Though there are still occasional camera issues with this port, the game is still receiving updates and bug fixes so it will most likely be dealt with in future patches. The game has also had some modern touch ups with improvements to the shadows and textures as well as the lighting and additional HD-ising in the developers own words. Achievements have been added for those addicted to filling out their Steam achievements as well as adding leaderboards for those with a competitive streak within them.
The game does sometimes have the odd graphical glitch here and there but the game is still in Early Access, with these problems expected to be ironed out and fixed for the full release of the game. While there is no confirmed date for this, Krome have stated they have their sights on releasing it by the end of this year. Fans will remember that this was the first in Ty’s trilogy of games and may be wondering whether his other two adventures will also receive a port treatment. The developers have stated that they are focusing on completing the first game’s port and may also consider adapting the other two titles, Bush Rescue and Night of the Quinkan in the future.
If you fancy taking a little nostalgic trip to a time where gaming was still rich in animal-based platformers, then Ty the Tasmanian Tiger might entertain you for a little while. Compared to modern games though it is still fairly short even if you are going for one hundred percent. Dedicate some time and you could blast through it with ease but for little nuggets of enjoyment it could last you a little while. There are still the leaderboards to occupy players until confirmation on the sequel ports hits.