Graphically Cute and Simple. Technically Fun and Brilliant.
Setting- 'Tomba! is set on a group of islands in the middle of an ocean. These islands don't appear on any map. Formed with large provinces in the north and smaller islands in the south, the islands were home to a peaceful people who lived in tranquillity for many years. It was home to birds and plantations, however, the magic of The Evil Koma Pigs replaced them with stranger and darker forms.'(Wikipedia). The setting of this game is wierd and creative, though the graphics are rather simplistic, the art and presentation make up for any visual limitations of this game. Nevertheless it is game that has aged well.
Story- 'You play the role of an energetic pink-haired youth named Tomba. Tomba's island was once a beautiful, peaceful place. However, seven evil pigs appeared, and using their magical powers, they mutated the surroundings into a bizarre landscape. The underlings of The Evil Pigs, called the Koma Pigs, stole Tomba's grandfather's bracelet and a plethora of gold through a strange lust for it.
Tomba is on a quest to retrieve his bracelet, which requires trapping the Evil Pigs along the way. Trapping them involves finding Evil Pig Bags, keys to entering each realm of each Evil Pig. When Tomba confronts an Evil Pig, he can throw and seal them into their Evil Pig Bag. He must also complete missions for other people and areas to get items and Evil Pig Bags. Some side-missions are purely for fun and irrelevant to the Evil Pigs storyline.' (wikipedia). The main story is rather imaginative and humourously unique. The game contains no plot progression, but allows the player to progress through the game through there own pace and choosing to accomplish missions or 'Events' that may or may not help you in your main quest.
Gameplay- 'The game is based around a mission system, where the main character's (Tomba's) skills are employed to complete various tasks. Completion of a mission gives a certain amount of adventure points (AP) which are required for AP boxes which contain food (which gives you AP and restores 1 space of vitality) or items, and you may for example need 50,000 AP to open one. AP is also used to gain access to special places or information later in the game. Not all missions are necessary to progress in the game, however they are required to achieve full completion. There are 130 events (missions) in the game. Many events rely on other events to be completed. 3 of these events are completed right after another at the end of the game, and thus, the player can only play through the game with 128/130 complete.'(wikipedia). The only complaint i have about this fantastic superficially non linier gameplay is that it can be difficult. It easy to get stuck on this game and be lost for ages and ages. Other than that this element of the gameplay is what makes tombi stand out as a adventure/platformer. It is definetly worth multiple playthroughs.
While the game looks like a side scrolling platformer with simplistic 3d sprites and backgrounds, it also plays out like an open world, where the player can travel or warp to previous locations visited. Completing essential/optional 'Events' earlier in the game allows for great advantages in upgrading tombi into a more powerful, player friendly character.
Tombi plays like a wacked out mixture between Super Mario Bros and Legend Of Zelda. Fantastic Stuff!
Overall, i have known about Tombi for 11 years and i finally finished it recently. It is graphically simple and cute while innovative and fun. Ill be playing this for many years to come.