At first glance, Temtem feels a lot like Pokemon. You capture animal-like creatures, train them, evolve them, battle with them, and take on Gyms – sorry, Dojos. Prior to Temtem, there hasn’t been a new MMO in the “Pokemon genre” this fleshed out and well-designed, even though it follows the same basic formula. 

You start the game in the bedroom of a house you share with your mother in a quaint little town called Zadar. From there, you’ll select your “starter” Temtem out of three options (Smazee, Houchic, and Crystle) and then battle your rival Max for the first time. 

To grow as a Tamer, you’ll explore a colorful world with Temtem-filled grass patches and towns like Briçal de Mar where you can pick up quests from friendly NPCs. You also get to battle some of these NPCs.

Like Pokemon, you don’t have a choice when it comes to NPC battles. Once they see you, you’re stuck fighting them. Unlike Pokemon, you send your Temtem out two at a time in order to take down your opponent’s Temtem (also sent out two at a time). Being able to use two Temtem simultaneously lends to the game’s emphasis on strategy. 

Your Temtem can synergize with one another and some Temtem work better together than others. Temtem also have Types which come with both advantages and disadvantages. For example, Fire Type is strong against Nature Type, Electric Type is strong against Water Type, and so on.

Temtem feels more challenging than your average Pokemon game. In the beginning, you may be surprised to find that you need to use healing items quite often. Fortunately, there are plenty of HealTem Stations (the equivalent of Pokemon Centers) located throughout the six islands of the Airborne Archipelago. 

Temtem also features interesting new item ideas like the Temessence Vial which can be used to heal your entire Squad of Temtem at once. To refill it, all you need to do is visit a HealTem Station.  

Everything has a “high tech” feel to it in Temtem. You won’t find a Nurse Joy at any of the HealTem Stations. That said, if you need to purchase TemCards used to capture new Temtem, or healing items like a Balm, you can find a vendor waiting to take your money at every HealTem Station.

Despite the many similarities between Temtem and Pokemon, Temtem genuinely feels like its own game. It’s also being hailed as “better than Pokemon” by both gamers and critics alike. Naturally, this  has sparked quite a bit of interest from the Pokemon community, and gamers curious to try something new on PC. 

The interest was so high that it knocked out the game’s servers and made things incredibly difficult for the developers at Crema the first few days following the game’s launch. This makes sense given that Temtem is made by an indie studio comprised of around 20 people with one other title under their belt, Immortal Redneck. 

It’s honestly impressive to see a small studio like Crema go from an FPS to an MMO like Temtem and we’re excited to see how Temtem evolves over time. Right now, Temtem is available in Early Access on Steam. In the future, Temtem will be available on consoles including Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch.

For right now though, you can only play Temtem on PC while the game is in Early Access. With Early Access comes the fact that Temtem is incomplete. You’ll see this emphasized in various Temtem towns as many of them have at least one building with a “WIP” sign outside.

You also may have the occasional server issue, bug, and update that needs installing. To their credit though, Crema has been extremely transparent about the state of the game, and they post regular updates on Twitter to let gamers know what’s up. 

Overall, if you like Pokemon but want something a little different, there’s no harm in checking out the Early Access for Temtem on Steam. Well, as long as you have an extra $34.99 on hand.