One of the most-requested features of the Pokemon franchise for years has been a switch to a massively-multiplayer game style. Players just want the world of creature-collecting, monster-battling anime fun to feel inhabited and alive. Temtem, a competitor to Pokemon’s dominance, is here in an early access form on Steam.
What Is Temtem?
In many ways, Temtem feels like a direct response to everything fans don’t like about modern Pokemon. The game is an MMO, was designed around co-op play and focuses on user experience. Given that this game isn’t tied to a juggernaut media franchise, it’s more free to be a video game with a balanced competitive experience and room to breathe without being slavishly dedicated to an annual release cycle.
By Fans, For Fans
Temtem, which opened its early access on Steam on Tuesday, is being developed by Crema, an indie Spanish studio most well-known for the roguelike Immortal Redneck. The studio has a reputation for excellence, so we have reason to speculate that Temtem will follow in those footsteps.
Many have noted that the game seems like a Pokemon game made by Pokemon fans, instead of being made by the same folks who have been at the helm for 25 years.
The direct focus on multiplayer, combo moves and 2v2 monster combat speak to something that older Pokemon fans have been requesting for years: a more serious Pokemon game. It can often feel as though GameFreak, the designers behind the mainline Pokemon games, are reluctant to make changes to the formula or advance the games with the times.
Will It Fare Any Better?
Temtem is the latest in a long line to compete with Pokemon in the “creature catching” subgenre of RPGs. Digimon, Monster Rancher, Yo-Kai Watch and others have all gone toe-to-toe with Pokemon, with varying degrees of success. Will Temtem fare any better than these games? Well, it’s hard to say.
Pokemon’s market dominance is all but unshakable; it’s the biggest media franchise in the world. However, there is certainly room in the market for a fun, indie-developed MMO with Pokemon-like features to find moderate success. The target audience, however, is likely to be older: adults who grew up with Pokemon who now want a more balanced and serious experience.
Time will tell whether people are as excited about the project as they have been about Pokemon. Temtem has an uphill battle, but the charming little game looks like it might have what it takes to be a success in its own niche.