Sunday, May 3, 2015

VGR Tomba! 2/Tombi! 2

The Evil Swines Return!

Are you a fan of Whoopee Camp? Check out these reviews!

VGR: Tomba! 2 aka Tomba! 2: The Evil Swine Return, and also known as simply Tombi! 2 in Europe and Tomba! The Wild Adventures in Japan
From Whoopee Camp/SCEA (NTSC)/SCEE (Pal)
Played on Playstation
Also available on PSN

Type Sidescroller adventure/action-RPG/platformer
Year 1999, 2000

Everyone's favorite pink-haired wild child is back! 

And for this occasion, Whoopee Camp really wanted to make this episode a success. Taking a note from both the positive and negative feedback on the first episode, Tomba! 2 (or Tombi! 2 in Europe) is a sequel that wants itself bigger, broader and better than the first game. It certainly feels more ambitious this time around.

The original Tomba! received a great reception at the time, numerous reviews calling it a fantastic game, but it barely sold any copies. To make the game a lot more accessible and "modern" the sequel ditched the 2D cartoon sprites for actual 3D models.

The game also makes a lot more use of the 3D-plane. As such it plays a lot more with the 3-dimensional axis here and there (kind of like a Pandemonium and Klonoa), while still offering a sidescroller experience.

It's also a lot more action-oriented. The experience wants itself bigger and more challenging than the first game, despite Whoopee Camp making sure it was still simple enough for mainstream appeal (by adding a "guide" and making things a lot more clear this time for the player).

The story is not necessary tied to the first game, although it still takes place after the first adventure.

The story takes place a few years after Tomba defeating the Evil Pigs in the previous game.

Our hero was leaving a quite peaceful life, when his friend Zippo arrived with some bad news. Turns out Tomba's girlfriend Tabby has disappeared! Tomba goes looking for her through the sea and arrives in a new location. He faces some trouble in the fisherman village. The place is already crawling with Evil Pigs! Inside the nearby mining town he learns the Evil Pigs came back and cursed the entire continent all over again! Tomba has to gather the pig bags once more to trap them!

To help him out on his quest, he meets lots of new characters and gets to see a couple of familiar faces again such as his friend the talking monkey Charles!

All this is happening as a direct result of the Real Evil Pig wanting to take his revenge on Tomba for the first game!

The gameplay didn't change that much between the two games.

At its heart, the game is still a cartoony action RPG, with lots of fetching quests, backtracking through the huge open world, collecting new weapons to open up new areas and defeated a set of boss fights through the various regions. Think Zelda 2.

Tomba can still attack by jumping on the back of his enemies. There's several new weapons to collect through the adventure, such as the boomerang, a spiked ball,  and even a grappling hook Bionic Commando-style - which is super helpful to really complete the game.

Tomba can also grab new pairs of pants this time with helpful proprieties, as well as alternate costumes with special abilities. It's the main new feature of this sequel, Tomba can obtain new suits like the Flying squirrel costume to allow him to glide, or the pig suit to talk with the pigs.

There's a few very useful feathers like the feathers that allow you to visit previous locations.

There are about 137 "Events" - with four only accessible if you import your data from the first game. They range from these Primary Events to the Secondary Events, the first ones being completed naturally through your progression through the story while the later ones are completely optional.

The game is a lot more linear, more straightforward this time around. That's why they ditched the map this time. Playthrough will usually get you through new locations until the main story stucks you in a small segment to solve which give you plenty of time to explore around for the secondary missions.

There are some alternate paths, which are easier to locate thanks to the arrows above Tomba's head. You will also get to control Tomba freely from a top-down view a couple of times in exploration segments.

The whole game will have you explore this world back and forth on all kinds of fetch missions, such as looking for a fishing hook or searching for Santa's missing gift sack. All this unlocks "Adventure Points" which you can use to unlock these boxes spread through Tomba's world.

The game is fun, colorful and charming.

The story ditches the cute anime-esque cutscenes (aside from the intro at the beginning).

The game has really great visuals and presentation. The team at Whoopee Camp did a fantastic job. They did a complete overhaul of graphics, Tomba 2 featuring now a fully 3D world. The character models.,while not that impressive even at the time, look fairly nice and work within the game.

There's a lot of quests and puzzles, although they're fairly simple and straightforward like I wrote above.

There's also the new addition of a voice acting - only for the American and Japanese releases of the game.

Tomba! 2 also has a couple of fun minigames, starting with a mine cart at the beginning of the game. Through this adventure you'll encounter a few more of these, making a great use of the new 3D environments this time.

The addition of Zippo, your guide through the game, feels a bit annoying. But all mascot platformers were doing that back then (Navi in Ocarina of Time, Sparx in Spyro, etc).

The game is pretty easy compared to the first episode. But it offers more or less the same type of experience. It's a fairly long adventure though.

There are lots of hidden stuff, but they're not that difficult to find.

No complicated riddles, misguiding puzzles or hidden meaning. They made things pretty clear this time.

But because of this it feels slightly less memorable this time. There's too much focus - if that's a thing. It feels like a more traditional platformer.

Like the first game, Tomba! 2 was released to mostly positive reviews at the time. People specially noted the improved visuals and 3-D graphics. But the fact there's only 6 bosses this time and that they're way too easy and repetitive didn't help the game.

The tone is slightly darker, more serious than the previous game for some reason. Some visible changes made sure of that, like the Evil Ghost Pig now actually looking like a zombie! There's even a tribe of good pigs that stand against the Evil Pigs that give the series a different look! 

The only other real issue is the much less memorable, more generic music, also slightly in retreat this time around. Composed by Ashif Hakik and Masaya Hiraoka.

Fun fact, Hidetaka Suehiro, aka SWERY65 of Deadly Premonition fame, worked as a designer on this game. Like the rest of Whoopee Camp, he also used to work at SNK and joined the rest of the team (late in the development) for a very short time before the end of the studio.

Overall, Tomba! 2 is a great action RPG/adventure on the original Playstation. Highly Recommended if anything for the very niche genre on the system.

Compared to its predecessor, Tomba! 2 has a more linear nature that shows it was more aimed at children this time around. 

This time the game features entirely 3D graphics to help save the series, but alas it came too late to do any good. The visuals are also kinda dated by now, unlike the 2D sprites of the first game.

I would certainly recommend the Tomba! series for their fun unique experience, a genre we barely get to see anymore outside Nintendo's own Zelda franchise. Despite some clear clues for a potential third episode in this game, it would mark the last we've seen of Tomba!/Tombi!.

This was the last game the small developer worked on, Whoopee Camp would disband shortly after. Most of the staff along more people from SNK and Konami would go on to form Deep Space and join forces on the PS2 launch title Extermination in 2001.

Both Tomba! games were made available on the PSN recently.
I give it:
2.5 / 3 Bruces!


  1. Fantastic game! I grew up with Tombi since i played it on the demo one, and i turned "bananas" when i played the second one. Brilliant series and awesome company... a shame its company doesn't continue nowadays...

    1. Well the developers are still making games, even if Whoopee Camp is no more.
      They're mostly at Access Games and are responsible for the games Deadly Premonitions and D4! (in fact, I find Deadly Prem. to use the same system of quests/secondary missions)

    2. OoO i didn't know it! Im gonna check it out, Eyz!
      Thanks!!! By the way, your blog is brutal awesome.