North American cover art
Tomba!, known as Tombi! in Europe and Ore! Tomba (オレっ!トンバ Ore! Tonba?, lit. "Me! Tomba") in Japan, is a side-scrolling platform game developed by Whoopee Camp for the PlayStation console. Tomba! was released on December 25, 1997 in Japan. The game was followed by a sequel, Tomba! 2: The Evil Swine Return. The colorful imaginative atmosphere and innovative gameplay has continued to keep it nostalgically popular with gamers. The series is the brainchild of Tokuro Fujiwara. It was also one of the first PlayStation games to take advantage of the DualShock feature.
Tomba! is a side-scrolling platformer in which players control Tomba, a wild boy on the search for his grandfather's bangle that was stolen by some evil pigs. Although Tomba is normally restricted to a two-dimensional plane, there are certain points where he can jump or climb onto a new plane. Tomba's main method of attack is to jump on top of enemies to grab them, allowing him to hop around on them before throwing them away. This can also be used to open other objects such as eggs or treasure chests. Tomba is also able to use various projectile weapons such as maces and boomerangs and can swing on branches and poles.
The game is based around a mission system, where the main character's (Tomba's) skills are employed to complete various tasks. Completion of a mission gives a certain amount of adventure points (AP) which are required for AP boxes which contain food (which gives you AP and restores 1 space of vitality) or items, and you may for example need 50,000 AP to open one. AP is also used to gain access to special places or information later in the game. Not all missions are necessary to progress in the game, however, they are required to achieve full completion. There are 130 events (missions) in the game, many of them rely on other events to be completed.
Tomba! is set on a group of islands in the middle of an ocean which do not appear on any map. Formed with great provinces in the north and smaller islands in the south, the region is home to peaceful people who lived in tranquility for many years. The island was once a beautiful place, home to birds and plantations.
The protagonist is an energetic pink-haired youngster named Tomba (Tombi in Europe). One day, seven evil pigs appeared, and using their magical powers, they mutated the surroundings into a bizarre landscape. The underlings of The Evil Pigs, called the Koma Pigs, stole Tomba's grandfather's bracelet and a substantial amount of gold through a strange lust for it.
Tomba's quest is to fetch his bracelet, which requires trapping the Evil Pigs along the way. Trapping them involves finding the Evil Pig Bags, which are keys to entering each realm of each Evil Pig. He must also complete missions for other people to get items and the Evil Pig Bags. Some side-missions are purely for fun and irrelevant to the main storyline.
- Tomba/Tombi: The protagonist of the game. He is known for his wild bushy pink hair and his green (and sometimes purple) shorts. His grandfather's gold bracelet was stolen by Koma pigs. Throughout his journey he befriends and helps many inhabitants of the continent and in return receives the tools and skills necessary to defeat his enemies. He appears to be based on a Kijimuna, a creature from Japanese folklore based in the Okinawa islands.
- Charles: He is a funky yet hip monkey. Tomba meets Charles when he gets stuck in a tree and cannot get down because he is tired from starvation. Tomba then brings him food and in return Charles teaches Tomba some unique abilities such as "The Animal Dash" and later in the game also teaches him to swim. Charles can be seen in the game wearing a red baseball cap, a light-blue vest, pink and white striped shorts and white gloves and shoes. Charles also keeps a parasol with him, which he gives to Tomba later in the game.
- 100 Year Old Wise Man: This wise man helps Tomba in his journey by giving Tomba a key to unlock treasures chests. He also tells a story about the evil pigs and assigns Tomba the task of rescuing the chicks located in the Kokka Eggs.
- 1000 Year Old Wise Man: This wise man helps Tomba in his journey by giving Tomba a key to unlock 1000-year-old treasures chests.
- Baron: He is a dog, who was sick and with the help of Tomba was restored to good health and aided him on his journey, by taking him to places he needs to go in the game that has been previously visited. Also, Baron has unlimited usage, unlike Charity Wings.
- Yan: He is a mysterious boy who hides in different places of the game to challenge Tomba to locate him in a "hide and seek" manner. He lives in the hidden village on the top of a mountain well above the lava cave.
Development and release
Tomba! was developed by Whoopee Camp and published by Sony Computer Entertainment. It received favourable coverage in PlayStation Official Magazine along with a fairly long playable demo that proved popular with readers. This was how many gamers in the UK were introduced to the obscure title.
Randy Nelson of IGN praised the game's graphics, citing them as but criticized the game's music, explaining simply that "the only aspect which hasn't been changed in some way is the music, which unfortunately could have been much better".
John Broady from GameSpot gave Tomba! a 8/10, also lauding the graphics as cheerful. He criticized the save feature and noted the limited ability to save one's progress, explaining that "it's a chore to save your game when you want to". Broady summed up the game as being "well suited for anyone who wants a break from the glut of 3D action games out there".
Although Tomba! failed to acquire Greatest Hits/Platinum status, it gained a sequel; however, the developer Whoopee Camp went out of business shortly afterward. The game has a high rarity status as a result.
- "Tomba! Release Information for PlayStation". GameFaqs. Retrieved 2013-03-22.
- "Tomba! for PlayStation". Game Rankings. Retrieved December 2, 2011.
- Cooke, Mark (January 8, 1998). "Tomba Review". GameRevolution. Retrieved June 19, 2014.
- Broady, John (August 12, 1998). "Tomba! Review". GameSpot. Retrieved June 19, 2014.
- Nelson, Rudy (August 24, 1998). "Tomba!". IGN. Retrieved June 19, 2014.