Ty the Tasmanian Tiger HD (Switch) Review
Ty the Tasmanian Tiger was a game I knew of back in the day, but I didn’t have the PS2 or Xbox (and was a bit late with the GameCube) so I missed out the first time around. My first time actually playing Ty was at the ACMI in Melbourne in a limited capacity. After a successful Kickstarter project, Krome has brought Ty to the Switch so now you can play it in the comfort of your own home.
Ty’s fellow Tasmania Tigers have been trapped in ‘the Dreaming’ with ancient talismans by Boss Cass, an evil Cassowary that wants to rule over everything. Ty along with Maurie the Cockatoo and Julius the Koala genius need to get together enough Thunder Eggs to be able to get the talismans for themselves to save the Tigers and stop Boss Cass. With Tasmanian Tigers being extinct, we can only assume that Ty is accurate in the Tiger’s ability to throw boomerangs (or ‘rangs), bite with sharp teeth and rock a pair of shorts.
Ty has a hub world that contains all the different levels. Each area contains a few levels and the next area is gated off. When you collect enough Thunder Eggs you’ll summon a Talisman and face off against a boss, before you gain a new boomerang and proceed to the next bunch of levels. It’s standard platformer fare for the era, collecting trinkets and rescuing small creatures as you collect enough stuff to open up a boss encounter.
Throughout the levels, you’ll come across Ty’s mates who need your help before they give up a precious Thunder Egg. Rex the Platypus will help teach you how to swim. Shazza the Dingo and Ranger Ken the Tasmanian Devil pop up across the levels needing a hand along the way too.
The levels are quite open, with smatterings of enemy lizards dotted throughout to get in the way of you uncovering the next Thunder Egg. That’s the thing, there’s a lot of space and not quite enough enemies, none that would really get in Ty’s way. Most enemies take little to dispatch, even when you need to bite then ‘rang them or ‘rang then bite. Overall they don’t seem to be much of a hindrance, making the growing collection of boomerangs feel unnecessary beyond the 1-2 times you need them to clear a specific obstacle. At the same time, I do need to consider that this game is from another era, one where this genre was plentiful.
The different locations from the hub world are quite varied in their environments, each of them feeling very Aussie. With the beaches and the outback, there are even getting out to the snow. Each level has eight thundereggs waiting for you, and there’s always collecting 300 opals, freeing five Bilbies and a time trial/race. The other objectives aren’t always so clear, the map will give you a hint and characters will give you challenges/tasks as well. Besides showing me the lay of the land, I ultimately found the map to be pretty useless. There are indicators for collectables like the Bilbies, but the map doesn’t show anywhere near enough detail to be helpful.
This game is very Australian. The title gives it away of course, but it’s baked into the DNA of this game. The dialogue, the accents, the outdoor dunnies as well as the outback environments and animals. As an Aussie, it’s not hard to get us on board with the slightest bit of local content. Be prepared to have every ockerism thrown at you, and a heavy dose of ‘strewth’ (although subtitles have it misspelt which could potentially be a federal crime) and ‘you ripper’. It also gives it a decent amount of charm, it’s not often we get a game this Australian. It also means the novelty of it will impact different audiences. For example, growing up Australian meant a lot of shows, movies and games were very America centric. Christmas is in winter and all about snow, Halloween is a thing and Thanksgiving is when everyone suddenly wants to eat Turkey. Which means every bit of Australian representation was appreciated, seeing mentions of things we have here or jokes about locations we know. It’s layered on a bit thick in Ty, but it’s still endearing. Whereas for overseas markets, some slang might go over people’s heads and others may struggle with the accents.
Now Ty isn’t a remake, it’s an HD remaster. From the cutscenes, in the beginning, it’s important to remember that this game is nearly 20 years old. It not only looks like a GameCube era game but still very much plays like a GameCube era game. The bump up to HD has the levels looking their best, or at least as good as they’re going to get on the Switch. It helps that most of the levels are colourful environments which represent the sights often associated with Australia. Which means the nice clean blue ocean and the vibrant reds and oranges of the outback. There are also nice touches, such as the wildlife populating the levels and hub world. It adds some much-needed life to these very open spaces.
A strange issue I had with the second boss was initially there was no sign of it. There’s a big open water area with no intro cutscene, and it wasn’t until I was setting off the air tanks used in the fight that the mecha fish showed up, unceremoniously giving away its weakness immediately. It felt like the game had broken a little bit, but honestly it might have been intended to be like that. Either way, it stood out as a rough moment.
Ty isn’t an easy game to look at under a critical lens, it’s nearly 20 years old and it’s mostly as it was back then. If you have a fondness for those old platformers with the collectables and hub worlds then Ty would be worth checking out. If you’re hoping for a more modern-day version like Super Mario Odyssey then you won’t find that here.
Ty being a game from nearly two decades ago is tough to be too harsh on. The remaster was about bringing it to current platforms, it still plays like an old GameCube game. It’s a nice bit of nostalgia revisiting a genre that nowadays is mostly reserved for games looking back at those games. You can’t go wrong if you want to have a bit of Australian video game history, or even just want to help show there’s a demand for remasters of the second and third game. If you’re looking for a platformer that takes you back to the ‘good ol days’ of 3D platformers then Ty is a true blue dinky-di ripper.
+ Charm slathered all over it like vegemite on Tom Hanks’ toast
+ Interesting environments
+ A fun bit of Aussie gaming history
- Very much plays like a 2002 game
- Slow to get around the levels
- Map is unhelpful