Gotta catch ‘em all! No, we’re not talking about Pokémon, though you’d be forgiven for thinking so. Instead, Temtem has entered early access on the PlayStation 5! We’ve spent some time with what’s available so far, and while this isn’t a full-on review since the game has not officially released, we can at least recommend if this is worth your time and money at this stage of development. Read on for our Temtem PS5 Early Access preview.
Temtem PS5 Preview – Under Construction
As stated, Temtem is in early access, and this is clear even in the first town that players come across. Every now and then, signs can be found which indicate that a particular area or building is a work-in-progress. That isn’t to say Temtem is lacking in content. Indeed, with an estimated playthrough time of 25-30 hours for the main campaign, there is already plenty to see and do, including six large islands to become familiar with, and hundreds of Poké Temtem to catch, trade and breed. For an MSRP of $39.99, this is a good deal, especially considering that more content is also on the way.
Temtem’s campaign draws very heavy inspirations from Pokémon. Your character has an archrival, hell-bent on being a better tamer than you while simultaneously being a huge jerk. Sadly, you cannot name this rival at all, so ASSCLOWN, Lol, Loser, or any of the other funny names you might have thought up as a kid cannot be used. The evil Clan Belsoto is essentially Team Rocket in most ways but their outfit and leader, and your rise to become the best tamer of them all includes fighting dojo leaders as opposed to Pokémon’s gym leaders. You need to acquire special items in order to reach new areas, wild Temtem hide in tall grasses, and opposing tamers always notice you with a big exclamation point, which naturally stops you in your tracks as you wait for them to saunter over, proclaim how they’re going to beat you, and then battle. All of this will feel instantly familiar to anyone who has ever played a Pokémon game.
Whereas Pokémon has a relatively easy start, Temtem isn’t very easy on new players. For starters, selecting your starter Temtem is something you have to be careful with, as there is no confirmation for choosing it after reading its description. The first battle against your rival is a guaranteed loss, no matter which starter Temtem you choose. This is because the rival has a Digital Temtem, which are among the strongest monsters in the game. The game is scripted in anticipation of your loss, though, and Professor Oak Konstantine Konstantinos throws an extra monster your way as a consolation prize of sorts.
The early game doesn’t get much easier, though. Some players will probably find themselves short on cash very often. This is due in part because random battles with wild Temtem do not reward money, and there are limited numbers of battles available with random NPCs. So, the early grind consists of fighting a few random encounter battles, then running back to a nearby healing station, and repeating until your squad has leveled up enough. You definitely do not want to have all of your Temtem faint, since the game takes a large chunk of your cash when this happens, and it will even reduce your balance to zero if you aren’t careful! Pokémon made this grind slightly easier by dropping cash for every battle—wild encounters included—so players could stock up on potions and other supplies to last longer out in the wild. Perhaps this is an idea Temtem could include in future updates to ease the early grind.
Temtem PS5 Preview – MMO Time
One aspect of Temtem that we have yet to see in Pokémon is an MMO aspect. Once the introduction is complete, other players begin populating the area, with their own Temtem following close behind. Players can compete, trade, or even play co-op to help progress whoever is further behind in the campaign. This is a potential game changer, since real-time online multiplayer like this hasn’t really been seen in this genre before. So far, server population seems high (thanks in part to crossplay with the PC), and it’s rare to come across an area where you cannot find other players. Being able to team up can be really helpful as well.
Temtem has a good foundation, and with enough time and content, will have a chance at delivering a solid Pokémon competitor. There’s already a lengthy campaign, hundreds of creatures to catch, and the MMO elements will likely become quite important in the future. It could be friendlier to new players, and the early game grind is not for the feint of heart. For those looking to scratch that “gotta catch ‘em all” itch outside of Nintendo’s curated garden, though, this is as good a place as any to go to.
Temtem early access code provided by the publisher. Previewed on a PS5. We plan on circling back with a proper review once the full 1.0 version of the game releases and Temtem comes out of Early Access.