Review: Ty the Tasmanian Tiger

About this Game

Ty the Tasmanian Tiger

Publisher

Krome Studios (original game: Electronic Arts)

Developer

Krome Studios

Release Date

July 25th 2020 (original game: October 9th 2002)

Console

PlayStation 4

Time to Plat

~10h

Platinum Difficulty

Very Easy

Online Trophies?

No

Difficulty Trophies?

No

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This game launches on the PlayStation Store this Saturday (25th) but as a Kickstarter Backer, I received early access from the 21st!

Ty the Tasmanian Tiger was my absolute favourite childhood game. I played this game morning, noon and night for years, somehow never finishing it. While everyone at school was talking about Sonic, Crash, or Spyro, I was sharing my constant excitement for the much lesser-known mascot, Ty.

Yep, despite Ty’s (left) two creepy side-mouths, I thought his design was very cool!

There was just something I loved about this game over any other. The locations were plenty diverse, the australian accent was charming as ever and there was so much to collect!

I was particularly drawn to the idea of dual boomerangs as Ty’s main weapon of choice. From the multi-rang to the frostyrang to the infrarang, each one served a purpose and back then when I was just a little tyke with poor motor skills I had to work really hard to unlock each one.

Even Ty likes to show off his ‘rangs!

Over the years I’ve come back to Ty the Tasmanian Tiger on PS2 a few times and each time I complete the game within just a couple of days and then forget about it for another couple of years. The last time I did this was in 2017 and I finished the game in one sitting. This time, though, Ty’s back and he’s brought me a wonderful gift… A platinum trophy!

Ty the Tasmanian Tiger HD Review

Just as I remember it

Oh boy… That moment when I booted the game up and the Ty theme music started playing was so beautiful. Before it had even registered that I recognised it, I was already reflexively humming along.

Right here, officer, this is where the nostalgia gut-punched me.

The game pushes on with an action-packed cutscene followed by some lower-quality establishing cutscenes but every line of dialogue is drowned out by my own voice saying each line in perfect synchronicity. I remember them exactly, the nuances of the accent, the exact intonation of their voice, even the timing of each character’s rapport.

Of course, as the game progressed, my ability to do this was slowly dampened as I reached locations I hadn’t frequented as much in my earlier years but everything from the level props to the collectables to the sound effects hit me with nostalgia back to back, more nostalgia than I’ve felt for any other game. So if you’re thinking this review might be a little bit biased due to my nostalgia-goggles then you’re likely right…

It looks exactly how my brain thinks it looked on PS2 which is, obviously, not the case at all.

But I like to think that a moniker of a good remaster is how true they keep to the original, and I’m happy to say that with only a few adjustments here and there, Krome Studios have very faithfully brought this classic game up to a standard good enough to be played on my PS4 Pro in High Definition! Oh, and… don’t worry, I will get to the cons of the original in due time.

So what’s new, Ty?

Most of the changes to the game come in the form of graphical enhancements. Improved textures are very obvious, especially on Ty and many of the environments such as grass and trees. Saying that, though, there are some characters who don’t seem to have had their textures revamped enough as a lot of characters get close-up shots in the game and muddy low-res colour-blending is all too obvious in these moments.

This effect is at it’s worst in the sunnier levels.

The lighting technology has been improved massively, with an excellent system in place for delivering realistic shadows – useful for improved depth perception in a lot of the platforming segments and I love the new tree-canopy shadows which bring depth and life to each stage.

However, once again, this falls a little flat in cutscenes and close-up shots as characters find themselves with muddy black smudges across their faces. There are other strange flaws in the lighting system too, such as the Flamerang lighting only affecting very few objects and not others.

The Flamerang lighting affects Ty and the snowpile much more than anythign else nearby.

Despite the above it’s hard not to see the new lighting system as a marked improvement upon the original game.

Grass objects have been multiplied heavily which adds a lot more life and movement to the environments but it has the downside that in levels such as “Outback Safari”, collectables are harder to find due to the increased foliage density.

Look at all this foliage!

On the flip-side, though, everything is a lot easier to see in general thanks to an incredible draw distance which means there is zero pop-in and you can see a Golden Cog, box, or cluster of Opals from the other side of the map!

Increase the draw distance any further and you’ll be able to see my house!

One other huge and very obvious change is in the water, it’s so reflective! It’s clear that the developers put a lot of work into updating the water and the effect it has had on each level overall is spectacular. My least favourite level – Ship Rex – now has glistening oceans with clear and highly reflective waters as far as the eye can see.

However, this beautiful addition is not short of its downfalls as many of the secrets hidden under the surface of the water are now near impossible to locate. As if I didn’t dislike Ship Rex enough, I found myself wasting a lot of time trying to find the last 2 Gold Cogs because I couldn’t see under the water from above the surface!

Ship Rex with the new water effects.

One other addition worth noting is the “Skins” menu. In here you can pick one of a collection of skins to equip for Ty, but I decided to stick with the original for pure nostalgia.

Skin options.

They’re as rare as hen’s teeth, mate!

Ty the Tasmanian Tiger is a collect-em-up through and through. Like so many mascot games before it, Ty consists of several stages all connected to a single hub world. Progression is found through collecting the many “Thunder Eggs” (Geodes) to gather up the 5 talismans needed to prevent the bad guy, a Cassowary bird by the name of Boss Cass, from seeing his nefarious plans through to fruition.

Oooo, so evil!

Alongside the 8 Thunder Eggs per stage which are earned by completing miniature objectives, you will also need to find the following collectables if you really want 100% completion (and that Platinum Trophy):

  • Golden Cogs, 10 per level – These can be used to unlock additional boomerang types from Julius the Koala’s workshop.
  • Bilbies, 5 per level – These quirky little natives have been imprisoned by Boss Cass and finding all 5 in a level will award you one of the 8 Thunder Eggs in that stage.
  • Opals, 300 per level – Like Sonic’s rings or Mario’s coins, these plentiful collectables are found all over each stage and finding all 300 in a stage will earn you one of the stage’s 8 Thunder Eggs. Also, for every 100 Opals, you get the ability to use a super bite by holding . Useful for some particularly annoying Turkeys.
  • Picture Frames – There’s anywhere between 0-30 of these per stage found inside very difficult to find near-invisible crates and for each one you collect you’ll get access to some concept art. I spent a lot of time looking at and copying these illustrations as a child!
  • Boomerangs! – These weapons are unlocked back in the main hub area. Some are unlocked through natural progression to allow you to reach new stages but there are some more exciting ‘rangs to be purchased using Gold Cogs.
  • Rainbow Scales, 25 to be found in the hub world – These will earn you a special reward from the “Bunyip Elder” if you’re able to find them all. Some are unavailable without first making progress in the main story.

These are all relatively easy to find and there are myriad hints you can find to their location. For example, Thunder Egg locations are marked with a “?” on the map, Bilbies make a pig-calling sound when they’re nearby and the Infrarang can help you find Picture Frames, so it’s really just a matter of taking the time to explore and understand each level, which never really gets old because each stage is so different from the last.

A “Thunder Egg” being handed over by Ranger Ken.

Go on, say something bad about it.

Okay, fine. Cover my childhood’s ears because I’m going to give you the down-low on Ty’s flaws.

Platforming can be very tricky. The main issue used to be depth perception but improved lighting and shadows make that a problem of the past, albeit there are still flaws to be found. Platforms often have a shape built for making you slide off of them and there are a lot of things you can jump to and stand on which don’t at first look like you should be able to stand on them.

Ty’s ability to hang from a ledge using his boomerangs as hooks comes in handy for a lot of the trickier platforming sections but you can’t even really rely on that because it is pretty inconsistent and you need to come in at a perfectly direct angle against a flat edge, something which is not always easy to achieve.

Having a second ‘rang also allows Ty to glide short distances by using them as wings, which is a hugely important mechanic for getting around in the game, and actually quite a genius idea given how silly it is.

Other than that, there are often solutions to puzzles which are not really as obvious as they should be. The perfect example of this is, once again, in my least favourite stage – Ship Rex.

One of the collectables can be found at the end of a long path consisting of Quicksand. It’s impossible to make your way across though I do remember as a child that I would use the edge of the quicksand and a series of jumps to glitch my way down the path but at a certain point, it stops working.

As it turns out, the solution is to do something which is near impossible to guess is possible and something you never had to nor ever will have to do in the whole game. Using your boomerangs you can knock clusters of coconuts from the trees above and they can be used to cross. I never figured this out as a child and there are many more examples like this, such as ropes you can burn to drop a raft into the water during a later level.

Speaking of Ship Rex, swimming is hands-down the worst mechanic in the game. There’s no way to quickly transition from paddling on the surface to swimming underwater and even when you’ve finally fumbled your way to the right controls, controlling Ty underwater is a nightmare.

It’s just so jarringly unpleasant every time you dive underwater and the controls change.

For one, the controls change completely. Suddenly instead of just pushing forwards to move, you’re mashing . Go too close to the surface and Ty will emerge from the water, switching the controls back and leaving you fumbling your way back into control. Plus, the whole time that you’re mashing to move, your right thumb is no longer free to control the camera with so you can hardly ever see where you’re going without stopping to reposition the camera.

This is particularly bizarre because the camera finds it’s way to Ty’s back naturally when you’re on land but when you’re underwater there’s zero camera assist. Swimming underwater is just unpleasant. Always has been.

At the end of the day, the flaws in Ty which have always been there either result in having no idea how to get to a collectable because of a new and then entirely unused mechanic or awkward traversal due to occasional poorly thought-out level design, bad hit-boxes, and underwater segments.

My Ty the Tasmanian Tiger Platinum Experience

Rang, Run, and Wrangle!

I went into this game with a wealth of knowledge I had forgotten I had. I knew exactly where to find about 60-70% of the collectables in every stage and I was breezing through them like crazy. Everytime I did get hung up trying to find a collectible it would be one I remembered being stuck on more than I remembered the solution.

For example, there’s a Ship Wreck in the level “Ship Rex”. For the longest time throughout my childhood I remember not being able to find the Thunder Egg hidden in here. When I came back to it recently I was once again absolutely clueless because all I could remember was not being able to find it. In my defense, you need to find a tiny hole at the side of the ship which is impossible to see unless you approach it from a very specific angle.

The ship wreck is at the upper-left question mark in the corner.

For the majority of the levels I was in and out with the collectibles on my first attempt, but I slowly began to find more and more situations where I’d need to return with a different boomerang I didn’t have yet. For example, in the level “Bridge on the River Ty” there’s a Golden Cog on a pillar at the back of the level which is just out of Ty’s reach. This is because you need to return with the Frostyrang and create an ice platform next to the pillar to reach it.

One thing which was new to me was the idea of getting all of the Picture Frames. They were in the original game, of course, but out of the countless times I’ve completed the game over the many years I never bothered with getting all of the concept art, it just seemed like a totally optional thing.

Now, approaching it as a trophy hunter and having a real reason to grab absolutely everything is such an exciting prospect, so of course, I wasn’t upset at the idea of needing to collect these difficult-to-find items.

A Picture Frame box in it’s natural habitat

The Picture Frames really are the hardest collectable to find. They’re found inside “invisible” (yet still somewhat visible) crates dotted around each stage. They can only be seen for their faint outline, but this is more obvious in some stages than others.

Over time you start to get an idea of where they’re likely to be hiding, but the game does give you a helping hand via the “Infrarang”. After collecting 45 Golden Cogs you can purchase the Infrarang from Julian’s workshop.

When equipped, the infrarang will make a sound indicating that you are near one of these hidden crates and by using to enter first-person aiming you’ll be able to very easily see any nearby boxes too, thanks to the infra-red filter.

A Picture Frame box when viewed through the IR Scope.

By the time I started the final stage, I had every collectable – including Rainbow Scales and Boomerangs – except for the Picture Frames. I had every Picture Frame up to that point, but there is bonus content with additional portraits.

The final stage had no collectables so I was able to simply blast my way through everything using the Kaboomerang without a care in the world, my only goal being to finish the story. It consists of two miniature and very linear stages and one boss fight. There’s a new mechanic introduced during the final Boss Fight which I absolutely hated as a child, it was so stupidly hard to control.

Despite a clear lack of polys, the Kaboomerang explosion effect still looks really good!

Thankfully I was able to pull it off first try, though, which I’m sure is down to a combination of better controller technology and me being better with a gamepad after so many years.

Bonus Level

With the game at 100% completion (it doesn’t count Picture Frames) I now had access to the bonus stage and whatever awaits for me within. Well, imagine my surprise when instead of the one bonus portal I was used to, I instead found TWO bonus portals.

I looked it up and apparently there were different bonus stages for different consoles back when the game was originally released but what we have now is a combination of those bonus stages. One portal takes us to the bonus stage at night and the other takes us to the bonus stage during the day. Each instance of these bonus worlds has separate collectables. Which means a whole hell of a lot of Picture Frames to find… 123 per bonus stage to be exact.

Luckily, that’s not as big of a job as it sounds and the Bonus Worlds are incredibly small, meaning all of these Picture Frames are crammed together in one tiny little space. I completed the day version in around 10-15 minutes so there’s really not much effort required.

Grabbing the last few Picture Frames.

The night version took me quite a while longer because there was one platform I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to reach. Turns out there’s a platform waaaaayyyyy up in the air above where the level starts which has a button underneath it. Once I figured that out I picked up my last 5 Picture Frames and was at last ready for the Misc Trophy Cleanup.

Misc Trophies

I really love how these trophies add extra objectives to the game which were never there before. Burning 50 enemy cricket bats and killing 200 enemies with a bite attack were never things I would have had to do in the original Ty, but thanks to the Trophy system my favourite childhood game has new things to do and that makes me really happy.

Chomping down on frill-necked fools.

So I managed to earn a good majority of these throughout gameplay, I was just conscious of which boomerang I was using and whether I should be attacking in a certain way for a trophy, that sort of thing. By this point in my playthrough I had only 5 misc trophies left.

There were two I wanted to get out of the way immediately to remove any risk of them ending up as my Platinum Screenshot, those were the trophies for dying. One asks that you die in the Rainbow Cliffs hub world area which was easy enough, I just dove underwater and set the controller down, letting Ty drown to death.

The other asked that I run out of lives, so I scurried off to get myself killed in the stage “Beyond the Black Stump”. I just kept running at open fires until I had lost all of my lives. This left only three more trophies.

Getting a game over puts you right back at the start of the stage.

I needed to listen to Dennis’ answering machine in the stage “Bridge on the River Ty” by interacting with his front door after escorting him, kill 75 enemies with the Zappyrang and have a perfect run on the boulder-throwing minigame in the stage “Walk in the Park”. I decided to leave the Zappyrang for last since I figured it would make for a better Platinum Screenshot and then headed off to see Dennis.

One escort mission, 4 boulder mini-game attempts and 75 Zappyrang kills later I was looking at my Platinum Trophy!

Bonza!

Time Breakdown

First Playthrough

Collectible Clean-up

Misc Mop-up

Ty the Tasmanian Tiger Trophy Guide

One of my favourite games finally has a Platinum Trophy and I want as many people to experience this underrated classic as possible, so here’s a Trophy Guide I put together to help you earn the Platinum too!

That concludes my Ty the Tasmanian Tiger Platinum Trophy Review. If you enjoyed reading this review, please do let us know, it means the world to us when we hear feedback and we love engaging with people over the game we just platted. It’s basically the only thing motivating us at the moment!

You can follow us on Twitter @GetPlat and Instagram @platget where we’ll be sharing updates, upcoming reviews and general gripes about the games we’re working on so feel free to follow us or use it as another channel for feedback!

Verdict

Plat

My own personal bias aside, Ty the Tasmanian Tiger is a sadly overlooked gem of the past and there's a lot of fun to be had in not just playing the game, but earning the platinum too. Come on, I'm sure you have 10 hours to spare for this one.

Pros

  • Faithful remaster
  • Boomerangs are a lot of fun to play with
  • plenty of locale diversity
  • excellently unique characters

Cons

  • A few lighting irregularities
  • Swimming is a wholly unpleasant experience and always has been
  • People who dislike collectables will be upset with the collect-em-up nature of this classic

Gold Trophy

If I let my own love for the game get in the way I would be slapping a platinum trophy rating here and there's nothing anybody could do to change my mind. However, I have to be fair and look at the bigger picture here. Ty has always been a lower-budget mascot game than it's competitors and because of that, both it's visuals and gameplay suffer from corner-cutting. It has it's ups and downs but at the end of the day it made me extremely happy as a child and I believe it still has the potential to do that for both newcomers and fans. It does earn extra points for being a faithful remaster, though.

About the Author

More fond of single-player experiences and story-driven games than anything else, TheDblTap has a keen eye for secrets and collectables, a skill which serves him well as a Trophy Hunter. However, with little patience and poor timing, he can struggle where MrZhangetsu would succeed.

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