Tombi! (Tomba! in the US, for some reason) is a Playstation game released in 1997-1998. It follows a young boy with bright pink hair named Tombi, who spends his life carefully guarding his grandfather’s gold bracelet. The gold bracelet is, of course, stolen by an evil pig named Koma Pig and so Tombi must go on a wild adventure to recover the bracelet. It is unknown whether Tombi’s hair is naturally pink or if he dyes it.
This game seems to have gained somewhat of a cult following, which is great, because it has gained the respect it deserves, but it has also caused the price of the original game to absolutely skyrocket. Fortunately it’s available on the PSN store for an incredibly reasonable £6.49 – as long as you have a PS3, Playstation Vita, PSP or the well known Playstation TV.
Following the theme of evil pigs, the main goal of the game is to find and collect the Evil Pig Bags in order to capture and defeat the seven Evil Pigs. After the pigs are defeated, you can recover Tombi’s heirloom.
What I love about old games is they don’t seem to stick to any sort of formula, they come up with their own rules and mechanics. Speaking of which, this game does indeed have some interesting mechanics – most notably many of the levels are split into two distinct (or more) layers. You cannot freely move between the front and back layers and must find particular places to move between them, for example you may climb up a wall to access the back layer.
There’s plenty of additional content to keep you busy whilst you’re hunting down the evil pig bags and capturing said evil pigs in said bags. The game has events you can trigger and complete, some are required and some optional. This is where the game really shines for me – I’m a fan of collect-a-thon style platformers so finding and completing all the events is great fun. There’s huge variety in terms of events, you can trigger events by jumping into a pool of water before learning to swim, talking to the locals, finding an item that you don’t know what to do with or walking into some caves engulfed in fire. Some of the events are extremely well hidden and a few I never actually found without a guide.
All of this takes you across a nice variety of different themed levels – haunted mansions, jungles and mushroom forests. Tombi is full of creativity and great ideas. There’s one event in particular I remember which is found mid-way through the game, it has you travelling all over the world to complete it and it’s a great ‘aha!’ moment. Other events have you racing cars, meeting new friends, learning the language of dwarves and, of course, the game has it’s fair share of fetch quests.
Overall, Tombi! is a great game that still stands up well today and it’s well worth playing if you get chance. There’s loads to do, it’s hugely creative and it’s tons of fun to play. It also went on to sell well enough to have a sequel, Tomba! 2: The Evil Swine Return.
Screenshots and gifs are from the World of Longplays video by Tsunao.