After its predecessor sold surprisingly well, the sequel to Whoopee Camp's offbeat adventure platformer, Tomba, has finally arrived. Tomba 2 is pretty much the same game as before, this time sporting more quests and a spiffy new 3D engine. Fans of the first game are sure to be pleased with Tomba 2, but those who didn't care for the original will probably feel the same way about this title.
The evil pigs from the first Tomba game are back, and only Tomba, that pig-humping wild man, can stop them. To make matters worse, the evil pigs have kidnapped Tomba's "childhood friend," Tabby, and imprisoned her. To find the grass-skirted tart, Tomba will once again have to brave a panoply of puzzles, fight through many fetch quests, and bag the evil pigs. All of Tomba's old friends, including Charles the monkey and Yan of the Hidden Village, and some new ones, including a new winged interpreter, Zippo, have followed him to this new island to help and hinder him
Tomba 2, like the prequel, is an unusual hybrid of the adventure and platform genres. While there's plenty of swinging, pig humping, and mace hurling to be done, there are also 137 small quests to complete as well. While moving around the gameworld, Tomba can talk to people and use items so he can complete a wide variety of unusual tasks. While the perspective may be less 2D in appearance, the game still controls in a largely 2D fashion similar to that of the first game. Tomba moves along predetermined paths and is prompted to switch to new paths where additional paths intersect with his current one. For the most part the camera and perspective are excellent and don't stand in the way of gameplay, but there are a few frustrating areas in which you will be required to perform jumps that are made more difficult by the perspective. Besides this difference, Tomba's gameplay is still largely the same - Tomba can find a variety of weapons to help him deal with enemies, he can jump and wrestle pigs, and he can use items from the sub screen. You can now find ability-altering suits - a cooler variation of the swappable pants of the first game - to help Tomba progress through the game. The flying squirrel suit will let Tomba glide long distances and the pig suit will let Tomba talk to friendly pigs, for example. Additionally, Whoopee Camp has made it easier for Tomba to move around the vast gameworld to complete the various quests that stand before him.Tomba 2 does have a few problems, but they're relatively minor. While you should be able to get through the game without too much trouble, a number of the game's less necessary puzzles are downright difficult. However, many times the sheer number of little quests you are bound to run into will make the game feel a little overwhelming, even with the help of the adventure journal. Also of some annoyance is the nature of the pig bosses. Like the disappointing boss battles of the original game, all you have to do is locate one of the mystical bags and throw the pig in the bag. These battles wouldn't be so bad if the boss pacing was a little more regular, but many of you will probably end up defeating all of the bosses during the back half of the game, making the battles a little repetitive and tedious.
Tomba 2 is easily one of the PlayStation's best-looking games. The crisp, colorful 3D world is alive with detail and animation, making the game feel like a 3D animated cartoon. The camera pans about smoothly and there are very few signs of the usual 3D issues found in games of this type. Tomba 2's music has been reworked from the Japanese release and retains the reggae-ish timbre of the original title's music, but for the most part it isn't as repetitive or potentially annoying as the original's music. Additionally, Sony's surprisingly competent voice-overs help bring the game's wacky world and characters to life, something disappointingly absent from the first game's US release. For the most part, the localization is clean and complete, something Sony should be commended for.
Tomba 2 may be a repackaging of the original game, but it's a slick and refined one at that. Fans of the original game are in for a treat, but not enough has changed to make the game attractive to those who didn't click with the original.