Throwback Thursday: Tomba! Is Still A Great Platformer


Although my all time favorite console is the Super Nintendo, I also have quite a soft spot for many original PlayStation games: Tales of Destiny 2, Final Fantasy IX, and my favorite side scrolling platform game, Tomba!. I almost died when I first realized that this game was finally available on the PlayStation Network, especially since an actual hard copy of Tomba! and Tomba! 2: The Evil Swine Return go for ridiculous amounts of cash online. I had long since given up on trying to track down the actual discs, so a downloadable copy was good enough for me as long as I got to relive my childhood.

As with any strange Japanese game, the premise is both bizarre and silly. Seven Evil Pigs have unleashed their horrific magic on the beautiful world that Tomba, a pink haired youngster, lives in. Each Evil Pig’s magic has taken over specific areas, transforming them into dangerous places for the world’s inhabitants. But don’t think that this is why Tomba is on his quest to save the world. Hell, the only reason he is undertaking this task is because the Evil Pigs’ underlings, the Koma Pigs, swiped Tomba’s bracelet that once belonged to his grandfather. After all, evil piglets have an affinity towards gold.

Unfortunately for Tomba the only way to retrieve the lost bracelet is by freeing the world of all seven Evil Pig spells. To do this, not only does he have to track down each and every Evil Pig Bag to seal them away, he also has to track down the Evil Pigs’ separate lairs as well.

Gameplay is simple. Like any side scrolling platform game, you must move Tomba from right to left, or sometimes left to right, throughout a colorful cartoon world. Tomba can also at times jump to the background or foreground of specific areas. The world is not exactly broken up into separate levels. In fact, the further you progress, the more backtracking you’ll end up doing later on. Luckily you will receive an item to let you warp to certain areas if you don’t feel like wasting time.

You also will find plenty of side quests to undertake. Hence the backtracking. While many quests can be done fairly quickly, there are several that will require a lot more progression or for you to return later on. With each quest achieved, you gain AP which can be cashed in at specific areas to get goodies and rewards. Again, some will require you to return to previous areas. In this case, it is not your typical platform game. This is a story driven platformer, not a level driven one.

Obviously, the story based quests are what will drive the game onward. And with each and every Evil Pig you unleash a can of whoop ass on, you’ll extinguish the spell they cast, affecting the world around you. You’ll then be able to access certain areas you weren’t able to before. And the best part? The game is fairly open world enough where you can do side quests in any order you’d like to. It’s certainly a far cry from the standard Super Mario Bros. that everyone pictures when it comes to platform games.

Replaying this game was just as fun at 25 as it was when I first got my hands on it at the age of 10. My brother and I spent countless hours trying to complete every last quest. Sadly, although the sequel is also available on the PlayStation Network, it is only in Japananese, making the game not exactly the classic game I feel nostalgia for. Granted, it’s not going to stop me from grabbing a strategy guide in order to help me replay it, the sequel does lose some of its appeal compared to the original title. All in all, Tomba! is still a great plaformer.

What are you playing for Throwback Thursday?

About Emily Horton

Emily is just your average twenty something girl who discovered her love for gaming at the age of three or four, all thanks to her older brothers. Mario, The Lion King, Aladdin, Zelda were her first loves, but Pokemon, Final Fantasy, Tales, and pretty much all Japanese games eventually fell into that category. She has an unhealthy obsession with Pikachu, hoodies, her 3DS, t-shirts, plushies, and purses. She may also fancy herself as an excellent lawyer due to number of times she has played through the Ace Attorney series. Outside of videogames, she is a Disney, Harry Potter, and Tolkien fanatic, while also recently discovering that she is now a hardcore fan of Supernatural thanks to Netflix allowing her to watch eight seasons rapid fire. She has elvish writing, the Deathly Hallows, a rather large Tinkerbelle and a large Yuna from Final Fantasy X all tattooed on her body, with only more geeky stuff to be added. Currently working on her own fantasy novel, she hopes to publish it eventually once all the kinks are worked out.

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