Tamarin – Review
Follow Genre: 3D Platformer shooter
Developer: Chameleon Games
Publisher: Chameleon Games
Platform: PS4, Xbox ONE, PC
Tested on: PS4

Tamarin – Review

Site Score
Good: Pretty and Funny
Bad: Poor design and Development
User Score
(4 votes)
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VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 7.0/10 (4 votes cast)

Tamarin is a third-person action-adventure game released and published by Chameleon games. Stated in 2017 as a game they had been working on a few years already at that point, Tamarin was released on September 10th 2020. Though small in size and Tamarin being their first release, the studio supposedly contains veterans of the game company Rare, a developer that has now been in the business 35 years, responsible for classics like Golden-Eye and Banjo-Kazooie. With a potential background like that it must be good…


Like a true 90s nostalgia trip, Tamarin opens to the peaceful idyllic valley, however, it is soon to be disturbed. A family of Tamarins and their valley home are invaded by the insect nation, an industrial group that contaminates the land with pollution and enslaves or slaughter the other animals… with lasers. Your family is now captured, and as tiny little tamarin, you will require all your wits and agility to make it. But don’t worry, you can jump, climb, run, and you are not alone. Your friend, the hedgehog, can help you out! When you first meet him he confides his fear of the insects in you, helps to console you, and finally gives you a gift… an Uzi!

Now armed with some firepower you are ready to take on the Insects, free the animals and save your family, one bug at a time.

Much like in several area’s Tamarin draws from 90s classics, namely Jet Force Gemini, following the plot of a force for peace and good fights tyrannical evil. Whilst the delivery isn’t always profound or even well-written, the story is a clear cut and driven linear plot.


The graphics of Tamarin are where it truly shines, even if only in places. The scenery is largely based on Nordic landscapes and is typically bright and beautiful. The detail and effort put just on the player’s Tamarin character are astounding. Bouncing and glistening, flowing in the wind… Even against the harshness of some of the darker, more industrial settings, it looks well designed and emulated.

However, the fact that some elements are so well detailed seems to emphasize how others are noticeably polyhedral. Whether due to deadlines and shifts in focus, or an attempt to bring in 90s reminiscence, some areas seem to constantly be in a state of not quite rendered. This gives the overall view a certain lack of depth, which left things feeling a little anticlimactic. Alongside gameplay, it led to some frustrating traversal moments.


Once again, this is an area of the game that does well but seems to rely heavily on nostalgia to appeal to the player. While general sound effects are crisp, clear and well-timed to actions (in particular the tiny tamarin squeaks from rolling around were adorable), these could pile up and get buried among gunfire, lasers and a soundtrack going from “Peaceful Meadow” to “Heavy Industrial Techno”.

There are also segments that seem directly lifted from the Jet Force Gemini game, such as the first shooting segment giving you the only directed tutorial moment where a deep voice suddenly and randomly dictates your objectives and opportunities, like the start of a level on a Time Crisis arcade machine. This frequently feels cluttered and chaotic and quite honestly detracts from the game more often than it delivers.


Tamarin’s gameplay is as strange and convoluted as most of its other elements. From agility sections to its bizarre shooting gallery moments, much of it feels like there were last-minute additions to the game, and the design team wanted a platformer without ever really committing to the necessary functions.

The agility segments have many moments that conflict due to there being nearly no indications of when the Tamarin can perform a leap, or can even make a jump in the first place. The boundaries of ledges seem inconsistent, and the jump distance itself seems to vary unpredictably. One test found that jumping next to a container was an inaccessible height, but if you moved back and the container became smaller due to its perspective, it became an easily achievable jump. These moments became frustrating, and even infuriating at points when a simple platform path with no obvious challenge becomes a repetitive maneuver in trying to just leave a room.

The shooting gallery moments, while incredibly entertaining and surprising to start, quickly become tedious, as the agility is removed due to your “heavy firearms”, and the game pace nearly grinds to a halt. While it is a fun addition, the execution seems very last minute.

Finally, there is the general exploration element. There are frequent moments where this feels fun, enjoyable, and fresh. Having to follow signposts (because obviously, a monkey wouldn’t have a map), makes finding your objectives a little more challenging and engaging. This encourages you to check your surroundings more carefully. What quickly detracts from it, however, is the lack of rewards and notifications of achievements. Reaching your 8th dead end with no chest at the end, or finding a collectible not listed in your inventory, makes much of it feel arbitrary and meaningless. Eventually, you start to wonder if they simply forgot to include things.


Initially a fun and unusual game, with weird humor and nostalgic cliches, Tamarin quickly falls prey to overcrowded gameplay and inconsistent quality. Whether it simply relies too heavily on developer experience with games of their far past, or it was experimental ideas that didn’t quite click, the overall impression left of Tamarin wasn’t that of a company with experienced developer veterans spending years working on a game. Rather it was a final year project of some talented students in game design and development. A fun game to play for many, even if it is poor quality at times, but with an incredibly questionable price tag for sure.


VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 7.0/10 (4 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Tamarin - Review, 7.0 out of 10 based on 4 ratings

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