Well folks, I’ve got some good news and some bad news. The good news is that MonkeyPaw Games has released Tomba 2 for download on PSN! It’s the sequel to one of the best PlayStation 2-D platformers ever made! So what could POSSIBLY be the bad news? Well, it’s the Japanese version they’re releasing in the US. The Japanese version of a game that has extensive text that requires reading. And there is a perfectly good English version they could’ve used instead. Not cool, MonkeyPaw Games. Not cool.
Anyway, Tomba 2 is a 2-D platformer, but it features 3-D polygonal graphics. In many areas you can choose different paths. Play as pink-haired wild boy Tomba as you once again save the land from the evil pigs. Tomba can use weapons like a mace to stun enemies, and his signature move is leaping onto the bad guys and flinging them off the screen. Later on you’ll be able to don special suits, like a Flying Squirrel suit that helps you glide. If you’ve played the original Tomba game (also downloadable on PSN and in English), you’ll be able to jump right into this one.
Or I should say, you WOULD be able to jump right into this one if it were the English version. Releasing the Japanese version would be perfectly fine if it wasn’t for the fact that it’s a very text intensive game. Unlike most other 2-D platformers, Tomba 2 is a bit non-linear, as you advance by completing objectives and helping out people. Even in English, goals and objectives were sometimes not clear. Luckily, MonkeyPaw Games has a Tomba 2 guide on their web site (they need to finish it, though). But in my opinion, that’s no way to play a game. It’s a bit nitpicky, but the music in the Japanese version is different, too (it was better in the English version).
According to their web site, MonkeyPaw Games released the Japanese version of Tomba 2 instead of the English one because of emulation problems. Poor excuse if you ask me. You either figure out how to release the English version or just not release it at all. But at least they made it clear on their web site that it is the Japanese version. On the PSN store, there’s really no way to know it is not the English version. They even use the US box art and title (The Evil Swine Return) on the PSN store! But I don’t blame MonkeyPaw Games for that. Sony’s at fault here.
It’s a shame that they didn’t release the English version of Tomba 2, as it’s a fantastic game if you can understand what’s going on. The only reason why I was able to properly play it for this article is because I reviewed the original Tomba 2 back in the day for the Dallas Morning News (Wow that makes me sound old). Plus I played that game to death back then, too. Anyway, consider yourself warned!
Since Tomba 2: The Wild Adventures is an import title; it’s not rated by the ESRB. But when it was originally released, it was rated E for Everyone with an ESRB descriptor of Comic Mischief. Violence is only cartoony, as Tomba can smack bad guys with weapons that just stuns them and makes them see dizzy stars. The way he jumps onto the enemies is a little disturbing looking, though. Reading skill is a must, so unless you want to help teach your kids how to read Japanese, I can’t recommend this one at all.
Blasts From the Past:
Here is my review of the original Tomba game when MonkeyPaw Games released it on PSN. I highly recommend downloading it, and it’s the English version, too.
While I was searching around, I actually found my old Tomba 2 newspaper review online. It’s a bit short, but remember that this was originally published in a newspaper, and there were a lot of space restrictions. This was originally printed in The Dallas Morning News. In a way, it makes me feel old. But another way to look at it is that at least you know the reviews on this site are written by a very experienced, long-time reviewer!