As is often the case with under-appreciated games; Tombi has become a hit largely retrospectively. This title reaches prices of over double the original asking price online, and it’s right that it commands this much respect in the gaming community, as it’s a ingenious puzzle-platform mix, colourful style and unique gameplay decisions are an extremely rare combination for a Playstation title.

A deceptively challenging platformer

Don’t be fooled by Tombi’s cutesy demeanor. This 2D platformer requires pixel-perfect gaming skills through increasingly complex areas, using an assortment of items to improve your chances of navigating an area.

Tombi in purple shorts in the Mushroom Forest.

There are 130 quests in the game, cataloguing all the facets of Tombi’s attempt to rid his home island of the scourge of the evil pigs, the upside being that each completed quest yields jigsaw like story.

The who are you mission text overlays on the screen.

There’s a helpful item menu to explain the numerous items you’ll pick up in game, helpfully colour coded to job your memory. Clues for what each items could be used for remain here, encouraging lateral thinking.

A sample Tombi item menu.

Questing for quests

There are 3D elements also, allowing you to jump into background layers and platforms. This haunted mansion takes it a step further, allowing Tombi to rotate around the building as the camera changes perspective.

Tombi is left idle in the haunted mansion.

The entire game oozes humour and playfulness. Tombi attacks, but also interacts with characters by jumping on them! and leaping on enemies from each colour type eventually allows you to upgrade your abilities.

Tombi jumps on the back of the phoenix.

There are a sprawling list of levels that can be discovered after defeating each boss. Many can be returned to over and over to explore new parts, chests and routes as each boss is defeated.

The bright and colourful menu screen.

A sprawling adventure

Abilities gained throughout will open up previously blocked up areas later on. It’s not uncommon for entire sections of starting areas to be a mystery until the status menu is better equipped.

The status menu helps keep track of abilities.

Each completed quest gives AP, which serves as a running tally of your progress, unlocking more secrets. Helpful context popups alert you to your progress, and are a real incentive to finish.

The monster hunt mission is cleared.

Bosses comes in two parts – finding the item needed to seal them, and the fight itself, which basically consists of careful avoid and grab tactics so you can hurl your enemy to his doom. It’s tricky, but a one hit kill if done right.

The green evil pig boss taunts Tombi.

An eye for detail

Overall the game is enormous with seven bosses to hunt down. The amount of stuff to do is quite remarkable and a credit to the talent of Whoopie Camp, encourage you to remember and explore key areas.

Tombi stands with the statues of the defeated bosses.

There are also plenty of side quests to complete – especially the quests that grant the ability to skip between areas easily. Swimming, and grappling dashing and long jumping add extra challenges.

Tombi swims with the pond's turtle.

The art direction is a mixture of detailed character and background art, and animation-like cut scenes. The music is memorable and extremely catchy, matching the atmosphere of the game perfectly.

Tombi rides the ancient phoenix in this animated cutscene.