Is TemTem just a Pokemon clone, or can it go toe-to-toe with the giant? Find out the main differences between the two.

Pokemon vs TemTem — What are the Big Differences You Need to Know About?

Is TemTem just a Pokemon clone, or can it go toe-to-toe with the giant? Find out the main differences between the two.

TemTem, the Kickstarter-backed creature collection MMORPG, is just over a  week from release, and we’ve been hands-on with the Alpha. After spending some time with the game, it’s more than apparent the game wear’s its Pokemon inspirations on its sleeve. But what are the biggest differences between Temtem and Pokemon?  

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The Early Access Steam release — coming January 21 — will bring some changes along with it, so we won’t be posting our full impressions until we’ve had some time with the latest patch.

In the meantime, however, we thought it would be best to summarize some of the main differences between TemTem and the ever-familiar Pokemon series. Can it teach an old dog some new tricks? 

The Way Things Used To Be

Let’s start with some elements TemTem has included that old-school fans of the Pokemon franchise will be happy to see return.

Routes between towns in TemTem are long and winding, with tamers hungry to battle you and treacherous long grass everywhere. The Gyms — or Dojos, as they’re known here — also features extravagant puzzles. 

These may seem like small differences at a glance, but when you compare the routes to Pokemon Sword and Shield, the contrast is night and day.

This is facilitated by a rechargeable Temessence Phial, which you acquire early on in your adventure, providing you with a free team-wide revive and heal every time you visit a Temporium — the equivalent of a Pokemart and a Pokecenter, combined in TemTem.

The changes aren’t all positive, though. TemTem being a fresh indie project means that we’ll only have 100 to 150 creatures to catch and collect at first, which may excite some to return to the “Gen 1 days”, but it does mean you’ll run into the same Temtem quite often.

A Different Way To Battle

We’ll have a dedicated guide going up soon to discuss how the battle system works in TemTem, but there’s more than a few differences that may trip up Pokemon veterans. 

The biggest differences include 12 types instead of the 18 types we have in Pokemon, some of which are new, have new names, or have entirely different strengths and weaknesses than you’d expect.

There are also 14 status conditions in Temtem, many of which are brand new. They’re not permanent, though, so you’ll only be poisoned for 2-4 turns, for example, while Sleep ends as soon as the afflicted Temtem is struck by an attack.

Your Temtem also have a Stamina bar, and each move costs a small amount of Stamina to use, while battles are almost always 2v2 in TemTem, further mixing up the formula from what you may know and expect.

These changes are fairly large and impactful, but the smaller differences can still really trip you up.

For instance, Temtem only evolve after you’ve owned them for a certain number of levels. So catching a higher-leveled Temtem will mean it takes longer to evolve it. They can also evolve mid-battle, now, rather than waiting until the end of a battle.

On the other hand, you have to wait until the end of the turn before experience points are given out. This means that if you KO an opponent’s Temtem but they KO one of yours in the same turn, your Temtem that feints gets no XP for its take-down

TemTem is filled with small tweaks like this that may excite or aggravate you, so you may need to spend some time with the game before you can really decide whether it’s right for you. 

Multiplatform Online MMO

We’ve talked about how TemTem is similar to Pokemon, while tweaking the formula slightly. Now let’s talk about some of the things that make TemTem truly different.

Firstly, while the Early Access release is exclusive to Steam, TemTem will be multiplatform. No exclusivity to Nintendo consoles — though, a Switch release is planned — means there’s opportunity to reach a much larger playerbase. 

Speaking of, TemTem is also a Massively Multiplayer Online RPG, so you’ll be able to see other tamers running around the same patches of grass, fighting the same Dojo leaders, and so on. There’s a chat box to speak to the people you meet, and you can even play the entire game in co-op mode!  

This does mean the game needs a constant internet connection, unfortunately, which is a real shame. You don’t have to engage with anyone else and can play as if the game is a singleplayer adventure, but only if you’ve got WiFi (and the servers don’t go down.) 

On the plus side, however, the MMO aspect brings a new dimension to the creature-collection genre, blending in a diverse character creator and customizable homes, which gives TemTem an Animal Crossing vibe.

A Contender to the Throne?

Only time will tell how successful TemTem will be. I’ve certainly seen ambitious statements online about how it will be a Pokemon-killer, which is a little extreme, honestly. 

Crema is a small indie developer, and though their previous title — Immortal Redneck — received a lot of praise, they just don’t have the might or funds to stand up to one of the biggest media franchises in the world. 

Personally, I had a lot of fun playing TemTem, and I loved a lot of the subtle differences and new developments that help freshen up what’s become quite a stale formula.

Others may find that it just isn’t the same without the specific cuddly critters that they grew up with, though. It’s all up to preference, and while it’s early days to be sizing up TemTem‘s creature-collector crown, there’s oodles of promise in this charming title. 

We have lots more TemTem coverage coming in the following weeks, including a full Impressions piece, a Battle Guide, and much more, so be sure to check back regularly! 

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Jonny Foster
Jonny is your go-to guy for deck-builders, CCGs, and strategy games. He's Masters rank in Legends of Runeterra and always happy to help!