Tomba! is a game that many owners of the original PlayStation view with a lot of nostalgia. I myself have seen many of these with these feelings herald Tomba! with praise's referring to it as one of the best 2D platformers ever, or at least on the PlayStation. Do I agree with this? No; however, despite some of my disappointments caused by the nostalgia that I also felt for this game (I spent hours playing the demo on a Jam Pack disc when I was little), I have to say that, while it was certainly not the best 2D platformer I have ever played, it was certainly a great game.
Game play: 8
At its most basic level, Tomba! functions like most 2D platformers. The combat system is a little different from other ones though. Tomba has two attacks: his jump, which he uses to get on top of enemies and then throw them to defeat them; and his mace that he throws at enemies (this only stuns them, so that you may defeat them with the former method though).
In the title, I mentioned that Tomba! has some RPG elements in it. What I mean when I say that is Tomba! has side-quests and free-roaming. This is not something you commonly see in a lot of platformers, especially 2D ones. While there are what you would consider "levels" or "stages" in Tomba, it does not use the traditional style of pacing expected from platformers. It doesn't use the hub room that it is so common in these types of games now.
The game play pretty great for a 2D platformer so old. It certainly has aged well. The combat system is about as deep and complex as what you would expect from just about any platformer. The only problem I ever had with the game play was during boss fights. The boss fights are incredibly dull, as you defeat with literally the same exact method just about every boss fight, just with slightly different geography and avoiding slightly different attacks of theirs.
Other than boring boss fights, the game is very fun. The platforming sections are probably the funnest part of the game. The combat is pretty enjoyable at times as well.
As anyone who plays platformers should know, level design is crucial to how good a platformer really is; and Tomba! excels at it. In fact, the level design is so good, I wish there had been just a few more areas to explore. One problem I did have with the design of the levels though is the backtracking that happens in the later portions
The visuals have aged very nicely. The game is from 1997, but the art style still makes it look decent even today. The only time the graphics don't look that good is when the game actually uses some 3D graphics, rather than 2D ones.
The music is about what you would expect from a game that looks this way. It's nothing special or memorable, but it gets the job done. There is no voice acting outside of the occasional animated cut scene.
The story is not particularly great, but it doesn't need to be.
The game should take about twenty five hours to complete, give or take depending on how much you focus on doing the side quests. It's not the longest game in the world, but its value is still pretty decent.
Fantastic level design
Backtracking hurts the pace of the game
Redundant boss fights
I seriously doubt you're going to find a copy of it for cheap, as not a lot of copies were made for it because of how little it sold. Fortunately, it is available on the PlayStation Network. Tomba! is a game I would recommend to most people who enjoy platformers. It's an enjoyable game with a wonderful art style. I would not let the nostalgia goggles that people wear about the game to build up your hype for it though.