GBAtemp Recommends #101: Tomba!

Discussion in 'GBAtemp & Scene News' started by chavosaur, Aug 15, 2015.

  1. chavosaur

    chavosaur Austin Trujillo

    Mar 11, 2012
    United States
    Huntersville, NC

    Welcome to the 82nd issue of the GBAtemp Recommends Revival Project! This project is a revival of our once-weekly feature where we share our favorite games and applications with you. The titles we recommend may be "old school" games, a piece of Homebrew, an ROM hack, sleeper hits, an application, etc, but one thing's for certain, we think they are fantastic and deserve your attention!

    On today's entry, we're going to take a look at a cult classic Playstation 1 game. It's got strange mechanics, a lot of content, an unforgettable visual style, and some really bad piggies. This is:

    37712-tomba_[u]-6.jpg 37712-tomba_[u]-7.jpg 37712-tomba_[u]-9.jpg

    Tomba is a platforming game made by a company called WhoopeeCamp exclusively for the Playstation 1 platform. The company only made two games in their lifespan, both of which being Tomba games, before dissolving and having everyone move on to new projects.

    But what they left behind, was a platforming adventure title with a lot of quirky ambition. Tomba! follows a young pink-haired jungle kid, set on retrieving his grandfather's precious treasure, a golden bracelet, back from an evil horde of swine. Tomba! is truly an interesting beast of platformer, in that the side quests and adventure style of exploration will allow you to take on the world in multiple different manners. Over 100 different side missions, tons of weapons and a lot of secret treasures and quests to be found. And the best part is, all of it is entirely unique. No side mission is generally the same, and the adventuring never gets tiresome.

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    The mechanics of the game work like so. Each side-quest you complete, whether it be rescuing a lost animal, retrieving stolen property, or beating up some baddies, award you with Adventure Points. AP is used to pass through more segments of the game, giving you access to locked islands and other environments. Rather than being the average jump to the end platformer, you're instead able to progress in a multitude of directions by crossing planes into the foreground or background and taking a series of different paths.

    Combat is incredibly basic. You can jump on enemies to grab them, then throw them into other objects to kill them. What makes Tomba! a lot more fun is all of the weapons you can find and play around with. Giant flailing spike balls or big, heavy bats are all at your arsenal for smacking around a few piggies.

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    The game's unique blend of 2D sprites with 3D backgrounds makes everything incredibly stylized and fun to look at and interact with. Coupled with very responsive controls and a fair but challenging difficulty, Tomba! is perfect for the adventurer fan and the platformer fan.

    As far as sound design goes, elements of the music tend to get repetitive, but it's not enough to drive the average person crazy. The unique use of sound effects for every other interactive thing in the game is enough to keep you entertained further than the music.

    At the end of the day, what makes Tomba! so great is its accessibility, charm and curiosity peaking sense of adventure. It's not often you get to pick up the controller to a platformer game and find yourself having more means of exploration than even the most basic 3D adventure game. Tomba! continues to hold up well today, and can hold its head high as being one of the best cult classic hits on Playstation.

    You can find Tomba! on the Playstation Network Store, and it is available on PS3, PSP, and PS VITA.

    Genre: Platformer, Adventure
    Release Year: 1998
    Developer: WhoopeCamp
    Published by: Sony Computer Entertainment
    Directed By: Tokuro Fujiwara
    Released For: Playstation 1

    If you enjoyed this week's edition of GBAtemp Recommends! Please leave a comment in the thread. This helps us monitor feedback and ensures we keep posting these articles in the future.

    If you would like to see the original archive of our previous entries, you can look at our archived content here.
  2. Valfore

    Valfore Advanced Member

    Feb 3, 2008
    Excellent choice for recommendation, as a speedrunner for this title, i can also highly recommend casually trying this game out, alot to do in order to clear all 130 events(quests)
  3. Pedeadstrian

    Pedeadstrian GBAtemp's Official frill-necked lizard.

    Oct 12, 2012
    United States
    Sandy Eggo
    I absolutely loved playing Tomba and Tomba 2 when I was a kid. I enjoyed Tomba 2 more, but that's personal preference. If I had a list for the top 10 games I want a sequel from, Tomba 2 would definitely be there. Like you said, combat is really basic, but it never seems to get boring. Spike balls, boomerangs, magic, etc. keep you engaged for a long time. There's also a humor in the game that I rather enjoy. Any game that allows you to progress through the story by jumping on NPCs is A-OK in my book. Great recommendation.
  4. guitarheroknight

    guitarheroknight 1.6180339887

    Nov 9, 2014
    Grand Line
    Loved this game as a kid!
  5. ThommyTheBoy

    ThommyTheBoy GBAtemp Regular

    Feb 2, 2008
    I don't even know! D:
    I still have this game here at home with my PSX, and although my PSX is having a bit of a hard time NOT crashing, I still love playing this game.
    Have had the game since I was 8 or 9 years old and I STILL play it. This is probably in my top 5 of all time favourite games!
  6. Steena

    Steena GBAtemp Advanced Fan

    Sep 13, 2009
    This game is in my all time top 5.

    Sometimes production value feels goofy, it's certainly not a huge budget game, and some parts are really really rushed, but I always appreciated the fact that the developers got so much out of it despite these things.
    If there is one game that makes you realize that pumping raw money/workforce into a project is not really important to enjoy a game at its core, this may as well be it.
    Also, the controls feel incredibly smooth for a 90's platformer. I believe the game bypassed the test of time on this one aspect.

    I was sad to know that the studio disbanded back when I googled their name. I heard that some of them went on to create what became another cult classic called "deadly premonition", which apparently suffers from low production values but has some brilliant moments in it, just like how I felt about Tomba. Still need to try that one out.

    As an irrelevant trivia: in some countries, the game was called "Tombi", I believe because "tomba" is tomb in a number of EU languages (including mine) and that's not the best kid-friendly name to give to this colorful game.


    Dec 21, 2010
    United States
    When I saw this, I had to chime in and say that this is one of my favorite games of all time. At some point someone put this disk in the wrong case on me and I have to search through them all when going through my collection again, so I haven't played it in a few years. However, this is one of the few games I have played through multiple times.
  8. 77Urmel77

    77Urmel77 Advanced Member

    Jun 14, 2013
    Thank you for this recommend.
  9. [^Blark^]

    [^Blark^] GBAtemp Fan

    Dec 19, 2012
    United States

    Loved playing this game as a kid has so much to do with all the quest it has. I remember buying it at a Sony store back in the 90's

    The colors the ost the game mechanics everything brings back nostalgia and is a great game to play. I have had this title on my PSVITA via PS1LOADER w/sound :)
  10. cracker

    cracker Nyah!

    Aug 24, 2005
    United States
    This game has been on my to do list for a really long time. Thanks for the review!

    P.S. Jumping Flash would be a good game to review since it was a sleeper game outside of Japan. /hint