Developed by Ravegan S.A and published by Eastasiasoft Limited, Teratopia is 3D action platformer based in the world of monsters. This bright colourful title has wacky graphics along with some punchy music which has a Mexican/country vibes to it. The game feels like a mash-up of Spyro and Pikmin but aimed at a demographic I struggle to guess at.
Based on the world of Teratopia – a land inhabited by monsters – you play as one of 3 main protagonists Tucho, Benito, and Horacio in trying to fight back an invasion of your world by the red monsters. Your fellow blue, green and yellow monsters are being captured and tortured in a variety of different ways and it’s up to you to save the world. Each of the 3 protagonists has a different colour and fighting style. You start the game as Tucho, the blue melee character. As you progress through the game you unlock Benito, the green ranged character, and Horacio, the Yellow trickster character. You travel through 13 different zones packed with a good variety of enemies and some very quirky bosses. The story is very lightweight and contains some fun comedy moments in the dialogue. The game recycles zones as you progress and generates chests in previously visited zones, encouraging some backtracking but in doing so you will find the enemies get tougher to match your current level.
The gameplay is pretty straight forward and doesn’t offer anything groundbreaking. You have your standard attack button which you mash to hit enemies, or you can hold it for a stronger attack. There is also an evade button to dodge immediate danger and your jump button. You do have four special powers which are different per character and they offer temporary bonuses to your defence or attack. They can also boost your minions, which is probably the most original bit about the game.
The minions come in 5 roles; brawler, ranger, engineer, enforcer, and wizard. Their name gives away what they are good for but the engineer and wizard are somewhat unique. The engineer can jump on certain turrets in the world and they are the only ones who can take out certain enemies. The wizards don’t get directly involved in the fight and are more of a supporting character as they offer temporary boosts to fellow minions, or to your character whilst they live.
Each of your minions will progressively lose health on top of damage enemies do to them, so they don’t last forever. They come in the form of eggs as you defeat enemy red monsters. Once collected you are then able to use them to become your temporary companion so they can fight at your side and in most cases take the attention away from you. You are limited to how many minions you can hold in your inventory at a time which can be expanded as you unlock special chests. But there doesn’t seem to be a limit to how many you can have fighting by your side which is nice, albeit a bit chaotic at times.
As an addition to the minion eggs, the enemies also drop eyeballs which are the game’s currency. The eyeballs are used to pay off the fee to open chests or to remove wall barriers so collecting them is a necessity. However, this is one of the tedious parts of the game as the eyeballs explode out of the enemies with force usually scattering in all directions making it hard to collect them all before they disappear or fall off the island. Therein lies the least fun part about the game: the platforming elements.
3D platformers can suffer straight away unless they get some key ingredients right. The camera angle needs to be on point, or flexible enough so you can judge the angles. Secondly the movement, mainly jumping, has to be on point or else you leave the gamer in frustration or despair. If there was a certain bar you had to get over before a game becomes a satisfactory 3D platformer then this game is hovering right on the line. The camera angle is fixed so it moves as you traverse the land and you can’t control it. That is a risky thing to do, but for the most part, it is OK and there aren’t any horrific angles, but it can be annoying if you’re not used to it.
The movement is very hit and miss and a decision the game took to punish you for falling doesn’t help. Running is fine but it is the jumping and evade/rolling which is a problem. You can double jump with each character but you don’t gain much height or momentum in doing so. If you want to gain any height or distance you have to run before jumping which makes sense in theory but the execution is not handled well because you dash by clicking in the left thumbstick. So on smaller areas clicking the thumbstick before jumping in the right direction can be challenging. What is worse is that there is no middle ground and by that I mean, if you want to jump a bit more than the walking double jump and a bit less than the running jump then tough luck. Coupled with the fact that if you do fall off the world or from a great height, your character dies and you lose all collected minion eggs. You are taken back to the map screen to rejoin the world. Thankfully you don’t lose all the eyeballs you collected as that would have caused some controller breaking moments.
As I mentioned before dashing can have a negative effect too and this is mainly tied to the yellow monster Horacio which is the last of the three characters you unlock. It seems in a weird act of balance he has a super strong damage over time attack but his jumping and dodging are terrible. His dodge involves a super fast teleport of a meter in a specific direction. This can be chained in succession to dodge and get out of most trouble but can just as easy teleport you off the world to your doom which happened on many occasions.
The game is not too hard providing you can cope with the poor dashing and jumping controls. There are a few moments where the enemies overwhelm the screen but with a combination of your minions and powers, it’s pretty simple to overcome. I died 90% of the time by falling off platforms or dodging off the map. The other 10% was because I rushed into enemies to speed through the game and got caught out. The bosses are the most interesting part of the game as there is a good number of them and they all vary in attack patterns and have different, somewhat wild, personalities.
Teratopia is not too long but it will take a couple of sessions to complete depending on how often you backtrack. There are a few other bonus parts of the game like the Terapedia which is an index of all the monsters you see in the game including your characters and their minions. Once you have seen enough of that particular minion you can unlock them in the Terapedia which gives you a special currency that allows you to buy costumes for your monsters. These costumes offer small boosts for three of the outfits and one very negative boost for one outfit which I am not sure why you would choose.
Teratopia is a mostly competent 3D action platformer. The combat is simple, the minion system is pretty cool, the enemies are varied (especially the bosses) but the platforming blows. Story and visual-wise there isn’t anything to wow you and I’m not sure who this is best aimed at. Monsters are more of a young kid thing but the flawed platforming and controls seem to target someone a bit more skilled. Even the humour is a bit above kids as one of the bosses flashes certain parts of their monstrous body which is covered up by a black censor bar. Regardless there is still some fun to be had here for fans of this genre if they can overlook the jumping issues.
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.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.