Ty the Tasmanian Tiger HD – Review
Here we are on the cusp of a bonzer new generation of consoles, and I’m thrilled that Ty the Tasmanian Tiger is still here, biting it up with the big boys. Old games deserve to live on, and that’s doubly true when you’re talking outside the holy trinity of Mario, Sonic and Crash Bandicoot.
Seeing those ripper levels again was a joy, but Ty HD is just that: those same familiar levels again. The resolution and framerate have been bumped, the graphics and camera have been improved and it has better shadows.
If you know that’s all you’re getting going in, you won’t be disappointed.
The fact is, Ty comes to Xbox at a funny time. This version of the game was released to Steam a lifetime ago, and has been slowly popping up on other devices this last year. Xbox Series S and X have great improvements to older games via backwards compatibility, and so it feels like buying anything that isn’t basically a remake at this point in time is a non-starter.
There’s also been a load of debate around the Spider-man Remaster and whether it deserves to have an effectively $70 pricetag.
Enter Ty – which (unsurprisingly) doesn’t have raytracing or even (surprisingly) 4k support. It’s just the same PS2 game made to play in a way that isn’t completely unpallatable to modern gamers and on today’s TVs.
The context of its release is weird. I don’t necessarily mean that as a criticism, because people will have different opinions on this. But it’s an important point when looking at this game in 2020. The developers could have done more if they’d had the time, budget – whatever was limiting them. They didn’t, and so you have to account for that in your $30 purchase. What you’re paying for is 95 per cent the version of the game you may have got through backwards compatibility, if backwards compatibility was available for this game.
With that said, Ty the Tasmanian Tiger still works really well. It is still an excellent throwback to the era where 3D platformers were ten a penny and every gaming company in the world was trying to build their own mascot. Few of them were as fun as Ty.
Way of the ‘rang
The best thing about Ty is that it’s unashamedly Australian. If you haven’t played it before, go watch a video. It lives and breathes Down Under. This gives it a fantastic energy that, sadly, isn’t seen very often elsewhere.
In typical fashion for the time, Ty must collect five talismans to save the world from the big bad, Boss Cass. There’s plenty of other things to collect as well, including the new additional 1000g.
You’ll fight and bite your way through a number of themed levels, each with things to discover. Players use a range of boomerangs to battle, each with their own special effects.
Aside from that, there’s little to surprise veterans of the genre. There’s a few fights, a few platforming sections, an underwater level. Occasionally you ride other animals. It wasn’t rewriting the rulebook, even at the time.
But that’s fine – sometimes a game just needs to be good fun. Ty the Tasmanian Tiger is good fun.
Graphics and sound
One of the things we start to see with the PS2 era of graphics is just how important art style was to a game. There are some beautiful PS1 games – Metal Gear Solid springs to mind – that have aged like milk.
But by the time we get to the PS2 era, we start to see all this detail that just couldn’t show up on CRT TVs at tiny resolutions.
Ty has aged okay. The arenas look artifically roomy and the textures aren’t always great, but the style itself comes through in spades.
Consider that this came out the same year as Windwaker, Kingdom Hearts and Ratchet and Clank, each of which has aged better.
Special mention has to be made of the sound, which is so important in creating the atmosphere. The music is instantly recognisable if you played it originally, and the voice work is still stellar. Great fun all around.
Ty the Tasmanian Tiger HD – Conclusion
As an original Xbox game, Ty still stands out to me. It’s fun, it’s full of personality – it’s just memoriable. It’s a shame the character has died a bit of a death, and even more of a shame that it’s taken four years to get him from Steam and onto Xbox. I think it would have stood up a little better then than now.
But as an Xbox One game, on the cusp of the Series X being released, it feels different, especially at that price point. Nobody is going to pay $30 for this product today, nor should they. The Crash or Spyro remakes weren’t much more, and had three games.
This is a great game in a less-than-great package. I really enjoyed seeing Ty’s world again and would recommend it to anyone – especially during an incredibly deep discount. But it would have been nice to see more.