In most respects, Ty the Tasmanian Tiger 3: Night of the Quinkan is just like any other action game. The major share of the game's levels certainly contain the same sort of platform-jumping, enemy thrashing, and puzzle-solving that you've experienced in other side-scrolling games. What makes Ty 3 unique and ultimately satisfying are the many instances within the game in which players get to step out of Ty's shoes and instead take the reins of a giant robot, helicopter, or fighter plane.
People of all ages should be able to appreciate the story and characters, which are wacky and clearly Australian in origin. The game's hero, Ty, is a marsupial superhero who uses boomerangs as his weapons of choice. His buddies are a koala, turtle, and dingo, who sell Ty the upgrades that he needs and chime in with advice or jocular phrases like "bonza" and "fair dinkum." The story itself is loosely based on an aboriginal legend concerning ghostly creatures, called Quinkan, that enter the living world at night. In the game, Ty returns from his previous victory only to discover that a group of evil Quinkan has invaded the outback and soon intends to resurrect their supreme ruler. Naturally, Ty decides to stop the Quinkan, but to do so he'll have to use his boomerang skills to get through the various levels and bosses that stand between him and the inevitable final confrontation.
The majority of levels are typical action-game fare. There are paths to follow, ledges to jump between, obstructions to destroy (or unlock), and cookie-cutter enemies to skirmish with. Some levels include lengthy swimming segments or collect-a-thon tasks. There are midbosses in some levels, and, of course, waiting at the end of each of the game's three main worlds is a nightmarish Quinkan leader versed in various methods of pain infliction. The level designs and basic gameplay are competent, but nothing special.
Ty's weaponry adds a dash of flavor to the overall experience. He can run up next to enemies and bite them, but boomerangs are his main method of attack. You'll start out with regular 'rangs, but by collecting opals you can purchase new ones imbued with elements, such as flame, freezing cold, or lightning, or embellished with the ability to activate warps, reveal invisible items, or act as a grappling hook. It's quite amusing to freeze a Quinkan solid and then shatter it with a subsequent attack. Without a doubt, the best aspect of Ty 3 is that players aren't stuck controlling Ty the entire time. Some levels put Ty into the cockpit of a helicopter. Players have to fly around, pick up Quinkan eggs, and take them back to the Bush Rescue HQ. Other levels put Ty behind the controls of a fighter plane. In those levels, you get to shoot down the Quinkan air force in side-scrolling missions that play out like simplified versions of Gradius or R-Type. Roughly one third of the game's levels put players into the cockpit of giant robots called "bunyips," which can punch enemies and unleash powerful weapons, such as plasma beams and water cannons. In the previous Ty game, bunyips were employed briefly in some levels to get past a specific obstacle. In Ty 3, entire levels are devoted to piloting bunyips...and that's a good thing.
You probably won't be blown away by the game's presentation--the magnitude of detail and panache doesn't quite reach what we've seen in similar games recently. But the graphics and audio are solid nonetheless.
Graphically, Ty 3 doesn't stress the hardware like Gunstar Super Heroes does. Nonetheless, the engine more than outperforms the latest SpongeBob and Dora games, which are in Ty's target demographic. The graphics are colorful and kid-friendly. All of the different jungle, desert, and underground backdrops conjure up visions of the Australian outback, as opposed to a generic video game world. Meanwhile, the characters are sufficiently cute and the animation is up to the task of portraying the characters' movements fluidly even when there are a handful of boomerangs and fireballs flying across the screen. The ice and flame effects for their related boomerangs are particularly fun to see, as are the transparency effects that are employed whenever Ty swims underwater. Cartoon style cutscenes, complete with comedic dialogue, also add a flash of personality.
Aside from the frequent mouth-harp and didgeridoo instruments that crop up in the music, the audio is forgettable. That's not to say it's bad. The music is upbeat and jungly, for lack of a better term, but none of the levels has a tune that's catchy enough to remember later on. By the same token, the game employs a wide variety of sound effects for Ty, his boomerangs, the various bunyips, and miscellaneous enemy and explosion noises, none of which you'd be able to recognize five minutes after you turn off the system. They're loud and clear, at least.
From start to finish, the game runs about four hours. The majority of Ty's boomerangs and the different bunyip weapons can be bought early on, although it does take some time to gather enough opals to afford some of the pricier upgrades--a few of which are required to access the game's later levels. Most levels can be replayed on an unlimited basis, which is nice because the bunyip stages are definitely enjoyable enough to play multiple times.
All told, Ty the Tasmanian Tiger 3: Night of the Quinkan is an enjoyable side-scroller. At times, it does plod along "by the numbers," but, when you consider the total package, the variety of different 'rangs and vehicle stages more than compensates for the game's formulaic aspects.