Ty The Tasmanian Tiger 2: Bush Rescue HD
Early-2000s gaming had a crowded 3D-platforming scene, with franchises like Rachet & Clank and Jak and Daxter just starting out, and Sonic Adventure 2 taking the Gamecube audience by storm. I remember thinking that Ty the Tasmanian Tiger might struggle for a look-in, but boy was I wrong – and 20 years and four entries later, the series is looked at fondly as a favourite by many players of a certain age. After running a hugely successful Kickstarter campaign to bring a remaster of the original to modern consoles, Krome Studios have been at it again – recently releasing Ty the Tasmanian Tiger 2: Bush Rescue on Nintendo Switch! Having never played it before, I threw on my dangly-cork hat and headed to the outback, diving into Ty 2 on the Switch in the hopes of reliving my misspent youth.
At A Glance
|Visuals||7 / 10|
|Sound||7 / 10|
|Gameplay||8 / 10|
|Overall||8 / 10|
|Positives||+ Tonne of play variety|
|+ Fun character & level design|
|+ Huge 2000s nostalgia hit|
|Negatives||– Minor control niggles|
|– Overly picky platforming in some areas|
|– Repetitive combat|
The story continues right where the original Ty the Tasmanian Tiger left off; the evil Boss Cass, a bird brained genius (who happens to be a cassowary – for reference the most terrifying bird in all of creation), has hatched a plot takeover the Southern Rivers and bring harm to the peaceful inhabitants of Burramudgee Town. Ty and his pals in the Bush Rescue have to keep the townsfolk safe and thwart the plan of Boss Cass any way that they can.
You, of course, play as the title tiger, driving around the Southern Rivers in your 4×4 and coming to the aid of any citizen who needs your help between beating up Boss Cass’ lizard-goons. The mission writing is incredibly tongue in cheek and exactly what you would expect from a game released around the millenium – there’s nothing at all serious going on, with Ty getting dragged into some peculiar, but undoubtedly funny situations. One minute you’re capturing escaped crocodiles and delivering meals, and the next you’re chasing ninjas from a film set – it’s a Family Sized Mixed Bag that makes no attempt to take itself seriously.
I had my concerns within just a few minutes of picking up Ty 2, as it quickly became apparent that it followed the 2000s platform trend of attempting to do a lot of different things at the same time. There’s standard platform levels mixed in with some limited open world exploration, before moving on to some kart racing (which were all the rage at the time), and even some search and rescue helicopter missions too. I was worried that going broad spectrum might lead to everything being rather poorly executed but a few hours of gameplay quickly put that worry to bed – not only were all the mission types really good fun, but mixing them up kept anything from getting too repetitive too.
Graphically speaking, everything has been polished up nicely without becoming unrecognisable; textures and character models have been shown a little love and allows the game to keep its charm without looking like a blocky mess on modern systems. The colour palette is nice too, providing the vibrant and playful tone that mirrors the missions and gameplay really nicely. I was fond of the game’s soundtrack as well, where the ambient sound and in-level music added to the experience without being too over the top. The chirps and hoots of local wildlife when you’re out in the bush are a nice touch and add a real sense of the outdoors – it’s subtle, but very nicely done.
I did find the voice-acting in Ty 2 is a bit of a mixed bag though. While the performances themselves are perfectly enjoyable, I did find myself rolling my eyes at the script, as it perhaps felt a little too Australian slapstick for me personally, with everything feeling a little bit like a caricature. I can’t be too down on it though as there are some really fun moments, with Gooboo Steve coming in at Number One and ahead of the rest of the cast by a long way – honestly, I have no idea what he was babbling about most of the time, but I can guarantee that he made me laugh each and every time he popped up.
Expanding on a simple idea from the original title, there’s a large number of boomerangs (or ‘’rangs’) to choose from, with each one offering different abilities. There’s a tonne to choose from and whether it’s melting ice blocks with the Fire ‘Rang or finding hidden items with the X-Ray ‘Rang, you’ll need them all to access all the areas. While they’re good fun, the ‘rangs being accessible from pretty early on in the game honestly feels like a bit of a missed opportunity. It is nice to have access to most of the options right from the get go, but I think that having some of the ‘rangs obtained for completing missions in the game would have given a better sense of reward and added more structure to the progression of the game.
Remasters of games this old often show their age with both their camera and the controller responses but I was pleasantly surprised on both fronts. The camera definitely behaves better than I expected, though I would have liked a ‘follow me’ setting so that I wasn’t forever moving the camera around Ty manually in order to see where I was going next. Some of the controls in Ty 2 are a little bipolar too, with similar functions seemingly using entirely different control sets. The most glaring example is that driving around the bush in Ty’s 4×4 requires you to use the shoulder buttons to accelerate and brake, and you’d expect this to be the case in the kart levels too, but these revert to a more Mario Kart-style with ‘B’ to go and ‘Y’ to stop. These little issues are incredibly minor but they do stick out as areas of the remaster that would have been relatively easy to update in order to add a little polish, especially considering Krome Studios took the time to utilise the Switch’s motion control feature, with rather mixed results.
There’s certainly plenty to do in the game, with a huge (but not unreasonable) number of collectables to look out for as you’re running and jumping your way through the Southern Rivers. There’s ‘pills’ that are dropped by enemies and used as in-game currency, as well as adorable lost bilbys and Mystic Tokens for Madame Mopoke, along with a host of others. The pick-ups are scattered throughout each level and require a little more exploration than you’d get from simply completing the missions. Unlockable power suits called ‘Bunyips’ add some variation to proceedings too, offering Ty new abilities and access to areas that he can’t get to without them, like winding caverns beneath the sea or deep in pits of lava. These sections, along with some fun boss fights, really work to break up the platforming elements that can, at times, feel more fiddly than they need to be.
I managed to finish the game with the majority of the collectables without scouring too hard and I’m a huge fan of this approach. It allows players to feel like they’ve experienced most of what the game has to offer, and only asks those wanting the completionist experience to sink a few extra hours in to get it all done. The pacing for the collectables is rather lopsided though, with the last level absolutely chock-full of pickups in comparison to the earlier levels, sadly giving the impression that they were added at the last minute to bulk out the game.
Overall, I have to admit that I enjoyed Ty 2 a whole lot more than I expected to. What could have been a trainwreck of mixed play styles actually comes off as a well executed platformer with a smattering of other madness mixed in. Whether you’re behind the wheel of a kart, dropping water bombs on a forest fire or flinging boomerangs at a swathe of goofy lizards, Ty 2 offers fun, laughs and all the animal antics you could ever ask for. The noughties might have been a decade to forget for fashion, but don’t ever let anyone tell you that the games of the era were anything but top notch.
In the interest of full disclosure, the publisher provided VGamingNews with a copy of the game in order to conduct this review.