Half posed as a spiritual successor to Rare’s 3rd person N64 shooter Jet Force Gemini, Tamarain features a monkey armed with an arsenal of guns on a quest to liberate a Nordic world of invading ants. If you played Rare’s cult favorite shooter back in the 64-bit era or perhaps on Rare Replay, it is easy to see the similarities and call backs.
Gameplay is essentially divided into two segments: your typical collect-a-thon platformer and third-person shooter areas tasking the player to kill everything with a semi-automatic weapon. This is a weird juxtaposition as seeing cute simians blasting the crap out of insects is hilariously awkward. This is amplified by the fact that there is little to no control when it comes to aiming a hand cannon, essentially turning into a bad type of 3D Space Invaders, and precision jumps are near impossible thanks to the floaty camera that has no option to invert. Stage design is inconsistent, often leading the player into dead ends with no rewards and never really providing direction on where to head next; I got lost in the very first stage! The game never explains why you need to collect these items and what they unlock. It is also weird talking about weaponry with this cartoony hedgehog that is half protruding from the ground. The soundtrack is also out of place for a game about a monkey shooting ants with a space pistol.
Tamarin is an unfortunate mess. It is hard to tell if development ran out of money, time, or just didn’t really care what the end result was going to be. Once the opening 20 minutes of unintentional oddness stops being B-movie “so bad its good” entertainment, you’ll quickly realize there are much better monkey-based titles available.
Also available on PC.
Also Try: Donkey Kong 64 (N64)
Don’t Forget About: Monkey Magic (PS1)
Wait For It: a new Ape Escape (PS5?)