Tomba! is a game that came out on the Playstation way back in 1997. It’s a single-player game that is mostly a side-scroller, and fits really well into that “Metroidvania” genre.
It was produced by Whoopee Camp, which made exactly one other game – Tomba! 2: The Evil Swine Return. Although Tomba! might be one of the greatest PS1 games out there; unfortunately, both games sold poorly and the company went out of business. There are no reboots or ports of this game, sadly. If you’re lucky, you’ll find a copy tucked away in a used game store or pick one up on Ebay (although it’s going to make your wallet sad!). I was fortunate in that my boyfriend gifted me a copy for my birthday this year, after commenting how badly I’d love to replay it.
Unfortunately, I can’t embed a lovely track from the sound track because it’s just too old to be in Spotify. I did however, find it on YouTube. As with most of my reviews, here is my favorite track from the game – The Iron castle!
Onto the review! As I mentioned when I gave a review for Horizon: Zero Dawn, I am not a completionist! I won’t spend hours trying to finish everything in a game, because I don’t usually have time for that! With Tomba!, however, the game isn’t actually all that long, and I managed to do it without too much work beyond the actual game.
This play-though was all helped along greatly by a viewer who popped into the stream regularly – lots of tips, suggestions, and overall trivia about the game! I was really excited to have someone to chat with throughout – so huge thanks to TheJosh for hanging out through this!
The gameplay for Tomba! is incredibly simple. This is an old, PS1 side-scroller, so you can basically go side-to-side, up and down. The primary actions you can take are to jump and throw your weapon, although later in the game you can find various items that will power up Tomba in different ways.
The most effective method for dealing with bad guys in this game? Bite’em! It’s ridiculous, but jumping onto folks and chomping them is how Tomba deals with most of his enemies. There are some that have extra armor you’ll have to knock off before you can jump onto them, but even the big boss at the succumbs to that tiny little fang.
There are 130 events to complete in the game, and some of them have to be done before others are cleared or you end up locking them and making them unable to complete. I didn’t go into this using a guide (although I had to look up several things later in the game that I couldn’t remember or find) so I’m grateful that I managed to not do that to myself in this run!
Some of the events can take quite a long time to complete but they all help you to achieve your ultimate goal in the end. My favorite event(s) began with ‘Man’s Best Friend’. Completing this and subsequent quests grants you what I find to be the best ability and friend in the game: Baron! Baron allows for fast travel to any location, and he is just the cutest little puppy you’ll see all day! He can fly with his giant ears and helps Tomba get around, making the need for Charity Wings null.
Most events are pretty simple and involve you finding someone or something, and turning it in for a reward. Some of them may take the completion of other quests before you can turn them in (for example, you have to find and complete quests to obtain all five golden items before you can complete the quest to turn them in).
One event in particular, however, I found incredibly frustrating. “I Want a Gold Medal” – this is required in order to hand in the five golden items, but to get it, you have to win a motocross race. It sounds like it shouldn’t be that difficult, but you have to beat a per-established time within the game for it count – and you can’t make any mistakes on the course. I spent entirely too much time on this event before I found a video on YouTube that explained exactly how to do it. I thank this person tremendously for putting this video together, because I am not sure I would have figured this out on my own!
There are 7 small bosses in the game, and then the final boss. Each of them are battled in the same way – you essentially just jump on them and then throw them into their Evil Pig Bag. This is significantly easier for some pigs than others – I found that the Yellow Pig was by far the most difficult to deal with, as Tomba is underwater. The swimming mechanic makes this battle incredibly awkward, and without the ability to aim your pig, it took me ages to get him into the pig bag!
Tomba!’s story is incredibly simple. The basic premise is that Tomba is an adorable, pink-haired semi-feral child, and some evil pigs steal his grandpa’s bracelet. The pigs use gold as the source of their magic, so they have begun stealing everything gold they can get their hooves on, and casting spells across the land.
Each pig is defeated by finding their Evil Pig Bag, and then locating the battlefield for each pig. No pig is found in the same area in which they have cast their spell, so it may take a bit to find where each one is located. Once you battle them, you throw them into their pig bags and they’re gone!
It really isn’t a complicated story, but it sure is cute.
I give Tomba! 10/10 Pig Chomps. I haven’t played this game since its initial release, and it stuck with me over the last 25 years! Enough that I was incredibly eager to play it again, and so excited to receive a copy as a gift. Despite its age, the game is bright and colorful with beautiful levels, and the music is incredibly endearing.