It feels like we’re seeing the remastered release of video games on the Nintendo Switch with increasing regularity as of late, with Panzer Dragoon Remake, Saints Row IV: Re-elected, and Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy just a selection of those that have launched on the platform in the last two weeks alone. I’m not complaining; in fact, I LOVE getting to play through some of these classics all over again, especially on the handheld mode of the Nintendo Switch.
The release of TY the Tasmanian Tiger HD feels a bit more special though. I remember playing it a ton in my younger years – my love for platformers is still as strong today as it was when I was a kid too, so naturally I had to give it a playthrough eighteen-years on. Thankfully, Krome Studios have done an admirable job of remastering TY’s enjoyable adventure for a modern release, even if it is showing its age in some facets of its design.
The narrative of TY the Tasmanian Tiger is pretty run-of-the-mill as far as platforming adventures are concerned, with TY tasked with collecting five special talismans in order to bring his long-lost family back from a strange dimension known as the Dreaming. They got trapped there in the first place thanks to the evil exploits of the villainous Boss Cass, and unfortunately he also just so happens to be hunting down these talismans too. Thus begins a race against time for TY to gather all of the talismans before Boss Cass can, and ultimately bring an end to his dastardly ways. As I said, it’s the sort of narrative you’d expect from the genre, but it’s well presented throughout with charming FMV cutscenes and some on-point voice acting.
TY the Tasmanian Tiger epitomises the classic 3D-platforming that was so popular during the 2000s, with the mascot-like marsupial heading on an adventure across an assortment of levels as he looks to pick up collectibles, beat up enemies, head through tricky platforming segments, and ultimately save the day.
TY’s combat abilities are split across the wide assortment of boomerangs at his disposal (you unlock more as you progress through the game such as the flame and ice boomerangs) and his vicious bites, each of which often have to be used in combination to take out some foes. Most of your enemies are based upon creatures that you’d expect to encounter across Australia, some of which have been given even more of an Aussie twist – you might not be competing for the Ashes in the game, but that doesn’t stop some enemies from embracing their inner Ricky Ponting and equipping themselves with cricket gear to try and hit TY for a six.
The levels across TY the Tasmanian Tiger are open in design, with each fairly large in size and full of all sorts of different nooks and crannies for you to explore. Whilst there’s always an ‘exit’ to reach in a level, they each offer multiple objectives that are always fun for the player to complete. It might be a case of leading a lizard back home by lighting up his path with your flaming boomerangs, riding a bull and stopping motorcycle-riding enemies from attacking one of your allies, helping a seahorse find all of her babies across open waters, or simply beating up some baddies that are causing some fuss. There are two standard objectives that are the same across each level too: rescuing the five captive creatures that have been captured by Boss Cass’s thugs and hidden across the level, and collecting all three-hundred of the Opals that are littered around. Completing these objectives rewards you with Thunder Eggs, which are the collectibles required to progress through the game.
It was always enjoyable to complete these objectives, whilst the fact that the in-game map clearly marks where each one of them is means you’re never scouring around aimlessly when trying to progress through the game. It became addictive for me to try and complete them all, though the variety of tasks on offer ensured that it never grew boring. Of course, there are plenty of fun endeavours to partake in during levels outside of these objectives, with things like riding through a dangerous water slide and partaking in a HUGE diving sequence breaking up the typical platforming gameplay.
Admittedly, there were a few moments where the camera went a little wayward in places and I didn’t always feel like the controls were precise enough to get through some of the platforming segments first-time, but they’re minor imperfections in the grand scheme of things.
In fairness, there wasn’t much that I didn’t enjoy when playing through TY the Tasmanian Tiger… well… except for the swimming sequences, which just felt a little awkward to control in places. That being said, there’s no denying that it’s a pretty easy game to get through – I rarely lost a life in the game, whilst the abundance of extra lives that are hidden across each level ensured that I didn’t suffer any game overs during my adventure either. It’s definitely one of the easier platformers I’ve played in some time, or maybe I’m just a platforming expert… who knows?
Visually, TY the Tasmanian Tiger isn’t really the best. Whilst it has been upscaled to HD and had some additional visuals effects included to pretty things up a little, there was something about the characters and the world that just looked a little weird. This was most evident with some of the character models, which would look particularly ugly during the in-engine cinematic sequences. Fortunately, the environments were so varied in design and full of colour that their visual shortcomings were a bit more forgivable, with each pretty enough to look at as you make your way through the land on your adventure.
In fairness, this is a game from 2002 that has simply been upscaled, so I wasn’t expecting miracles with its visual presentation. However, when titles like Jak and Daxter or Ratchet and Clank have seen similar remastered releases that have managed to look quite impressive, it’s hard not to feel a little underwhelmed by the graphics here. But hey, at least it runs at a smooth 60fps throughout, which is always a big plus in a platformer.
The new release of TY the Tasmanian Tiger on the Nintendo Switch brings with it some additional extras, including a new hardcore mode that rectifies that easy difficulty a little (although just having one life is a little harsh), all-new skins for Ty, and even gyro controls when launching your boomerangs around. It’s clear that Krome Studios put a fair bit of love and care into this HD remaster and haven’t just focused on a fresh lick of paint.
TY the Tasmanian Tiger HD hasn’t aged all that well visually, but the varied platforming antics and neat combat mechanics ensure that it remains a fun adventure eighteen-years on. There are a few cool additions that have been brought into this remastered release too, whilst the consistent 60fps frame rate ensures that it runs silky smooth throughout.
It does have some imperfections here and there, but what would you expect from a game from 2002? Whether you’ve been a fan of TY the Tasmanian Tiger HD since its original release or simply enjoy an old-school platformer, this is one re-release that certainly remains worth playing.
Developer: Krome Studios
Publisher: Krome Studios
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PC