Tamiku Review

Tamiku is about as basic as it gets; our hero, the titlular Tamiku, has a penchant for popping balloons. So much so that they destroyed their world. Now, they’re off to find new worlds and balloons. And pop balloons you will, for a little while at least.

The basic gameplay is something akin to what we’d see in an arcade game from the early 80’s, as is the presentation. It’s passable fun for a few minutes at a time, but soon get repetitive. Starting at the bottom of the screen we move Tamiku from left to right to pop blue and red balloons. Each stage wraps around – we can walk off screen on the right and appear on the left – and features several levels up and down the screen to jump between.

There are various enemies to evade as we have no attack, and a single hit takes one of our three lives away. Continuing on with the arcade sensibility it can often be quite difficult to evade everything at once – though thankfully no quarters are needed to continue! After popping around half of the balloons the level goes into overdrive, causing the enemies to speed up and our points for popping the red balloons doubled. While walking into the blue ones is suffice, popping the reds require a quick button mash before an enemy hits us. In overtime mode this can lead to some tense moments, barely popping and ducking out of a level just as an enemy approaches.

Each stage has different enemy types as well as hazards to contend with, from balls of fire shooting up the screen to rolling snowballs that drop at each levels opening, or a Pac-Man-style ghost that chases us down when in direct eye line. As above, the arcade sensibility means it’s often easy to be overwhelmed. Once all three lives are used up we can continue with a reset score, or start again from scratch.

Visually I think it does a good job of emulating old arcade titles, with bright coloured sprites and the like. Older players might get a kick out of the retro feel, but it’s hardly a shining example of modern day tech. The audio though is, as with Golf Zero recently, awful; it was bad back in the day when we didn’t know any better, and it’s just as bad now. Again, retro-accurate, but not good in anyway.

Conclusion

And that’s about it. There’s no extra modes, no MP, no leader boards. As a standalone arcade game it’s passable for quick bursts, but the appeal soon wore off and after just an hour or so I’d more than had my fill. As usual, there’s a fairly easy 1000g to find if you’ve the desire to grind the stages, but I can’t see this being a title that’ll stick in your playlist once that last achievement pops.

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This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by the publisher.
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Written by
I've been gaming since Spy vs Spy on the Master System, growing up as a Sega kid before realising the joy of multi-platform gaming. These days I can mostly be found on smaller indie titles, the occasional big RPG and doing poorly at Rainbow Six: Siege. Gamertag: Enaksan

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