Temtem’s MMO Mechanics Are Motivating Me To Play On

When I first played Temtem in early access, I didn’t get why it needed to be an MMO. The main campaign is single-player and the only interaction you can really have with other players besides sending emotes into the void is challenging them to battles. You don’t need to beat them to progress, it’s just for fun – or so it seemed in the early stages – so I really didn’t get it.

I’m still not sure I completely get it, but as I said, I’m still working my way through the game’s early stages. However, I’m already seeing signs that at least one of the MMO mechanics is pulling me through the game. But to discuss that, we need to figure out exactly why we play monster-catching RPGs like this in the first place.

I’ve got this far without mentioning Pokemon, so here we go. Pokemon, Pokemon, Pokemon. Why do we play Pokemon? I don’t know why you play Pokemon, but I mostly do it for the monsters. I play through every new game with a party of all new additions to the PokeDex, which led me to power through Sword & Shield with a team consisting of Sobble, Corviknight, Toxtricity, Dracozolt, Obstagoon, and best of all, Cufant. Then, I play through again with a team of the best Pokemon. Subsequent playthroughs saw me recruit the likes of Gengar, Milotic, Gigalith, and, again, Cufant. The second time around I knew what was coming, what monsters I’d encounter, and had an idea of the team I wanted to build.

That’s different with Temtem. I don’t know any of these monsters, I don’t know what they evolve into, and I don’t know what will appear on the next route. What I do know, however, is what other trainers have caught. Other trainers appear in your game almost like ghosts, translucent characters going about their business and unintentionally giving you hints of where to go or what to do next. They cluster around NPC Temtem tamers for battles and merge into one blurring blob of faces when they all go to pick up the same item. It’s almost like the slow-mo in The Matrix, except with less bullets flying past.

Temtem also utilises one of the most popular Pokemon mechanics, in that your monsters follow you around. It’s great to be joined on your quest by your favourite Temtem, but you can also see what Temtem all the players around you have with them.

I’m only a few towns into the game, but I’ve already seen a three-headed snake, tamers riding around on large beasts, and giant spiders I’d simply love to add to my squad. I’ve found out there isn’t just one, but two platypus monsters – why, I don’t know, but I need both on my team – and it all serves to motivate me to push on.

I’ve had my starter’s evolution spoiled for me, but I don’t remember the last Pokemon game I played where those weren’t announced or leaked well ahead of time anyway, so it doesn’t really bother me. There’s a hammerhead shark I need in my party, if only I can figure out how to surf.

I’m still not sold on the whole MMO aspect of Temtem, but seeing other trainers with far cooler monsters than mine is pushing me forwards in the game at present. I guess it’s like Ash seeing Ho-oh in the first episode of the anime, or if Brendan saw Steven’s Metagross (not an innuendo) in Granite Cave in the early stages of Pokemon Ruby & Sapphire. Trainers and tamers tend to use the monsters that are caught on the routes where they’re standing, but other players? They can backtrack from the very end of the game just to show off their Temtems to plucky noobs like me.

I’ll get there one day, and I’ll head back to Zadar with my team of platypuses and sharks, but until then I’ll follow the ghosts of tamers gone before me. More specifically, I’ll follow their monsters.

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