By RAmpersaND 4 Comments
I mean it as a compliment when I say that Tomba! breaks with so many conventions that Whoopee Camp seems to have developed it without first playing any other game. In short, Tomba! is 50% platformer, 50% action-RPG, 50% old-school adventure, and 100% indifferent to the fact that its gameplay features one too many halves.
The Good: Tomba! boasts eccentric character and level design, quirky pacing, and a unique sense of humor. That's not to say that "weird always equals good", but in this case, every unusual design choice magically manages to work. To take just one example, Tomba! featured a robust achievement system seven years before the launch of the Xbox 360! Plus, like any great side-scroller from the generation preceding its own, Tomba!'s every level is filled with vibrant colors and memorable music.
The Bad: There's one platforming section in the game that forces players to make two blind leaps in a row over a bottomless pit while a strong wind blows; suffice it to say that this particular passage is unreasonably difficult. But that's an isolated complaint. Tomba!'s only serious problem is its occasional tendency to leave players nearly directionless; i.e., every once in a while, only one active quest remains, and all plot progression grinds to a halt until that one quest's vague requirements are met. (Here's a hint for all future Tomba! players: if nothing else is working, search the Haunted Mansion again. That tactic got me through more than one such bottleneck!)
The Stand-Out Moment: Finding and fighting the first of the Evil Pigs!
The Verdict: 9.0 (out of 10)