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How Pokémon trainers can become the best ‘Temtem’ tamers

(Washington Post; Crema Games)

Tamers rejoice: After two long and arduous years in early access, “Temtem” has finally launched in 1.0 across all major platforms. And with “Pokémon Scarlet” and “Pokémon Violet” looming just over the horizon, it couldn’t have come at a better time.

That being said, while “Temtem” certainly shares DNA with the Pokémon series, it is markedly different in a number of major ways. Making the transition from trainer to tamer may not be easy, which is why we’ve compiled a list of tips and tricks to help make your journey to the Airborne Archipelago as smooth as possible.

Choose the best starter: Houchic

Just like in Pokémon, your “Temtem” adventure begins in a laboratory where you are presented with a choice between three creatures: Houchic, Smazee and Crystle.

While you should always go with your gut feeling for your first playthrough of a Pokémon game, “Temtem” is pretty long, and it has a clear-cut path to competitive play designed to be approachable for casual players, so there’s still plenty do after completing the main campaign. On top of that, each starter is catchable in the wild, meaning you’ll eventually be able to capture all three of them regardless of which one you initially pick.

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With that in mind, it’s worth maximizing your efficiency by choosing the best starter right at the beginning, which is probably Houchic. With access to powerful moves like Beta Burst and High-Pressure Water, the Houchic line has great coverage and ensures you gain a valuable mental type early in your playthrough. It’s also the last of the three starters to become available in the wild, so being able to pick it up at the start of the game is pretty helpful.

Lean into the different battle mechanics

The way in which “Temtem” is most fundamentally different to Pokémon is in its handling of battles. In “Temtem,” all battles are double battles, which drastically increases the need for strategy and synchronization.

Beyond that, “Temtem” also removes all RNG — there are no critical hits, for example — and therefore makes type-effectiveness significantly more important. Level differences become less of a factor when the only way you or your opponent can deal increased damage is by using super-effective moves. Similarly, playing around resistances will ensure you rarely take a sizable hit, maximizing your sustainability and making battles much easier.

It’s also worth noting that “Temtem” ditches PP (power points) for individual moves. Instead, different moves cost different amounts of stamina, with that cost usually hinging on how impactful they are. If you deplete your stamina bar, your Temtem will take damage from overexerting itself and be immobile the following turn, making stamina management a crucial aspect of every battle.

Save your money

Something that will inevitably catch every new tamer out at one stage or another is the fact that shops in “Temtem” are … straight-up rip-offs.

Seriously! Everything in “Temtem” is extortionately expensive, to the extent that you may often find yourself in situations where you can’t even afford a Balm to heal your bruised-up Tems. To mitigate this issue, make sure you only purchase items you’re sure you will need, especially early on.

And if you don’t need any items right now? Save your Pansuns — you’ll definitely need them later.

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Prioritize catching Tems that synergize

This is similar to the previous points about choosing the best starter and learning “Temtem’s” proprietary battle mechanics. Your journey through Deniz, Omninesia and beyond will be noticeably more comfortable if you pick up the right monsters along the way.

In the starting area of the game, you’ll want to look out for Ukama in the Sillaro River. As you progress through the Deniz storyline, make sure you also pick up the powerful Oceara in Aguamarina Caves. Both are extremely strong water types that will prove to be consistently valuable throughout the main story. If you include your starter — who has hopefully evolved into Tental by now — you’ve already got half a team.

Other powerful Tems include Kinu, Volarend, Valash, Platimous, Gazuma, Vulcrane and more. I personally go with Kinu, Gazuma and Vulcrane for nature, electric, wind, fire and earth type coverage.

Take the game seriously

This last point might seem a little nebulous, but it’s perhaps the most important one of all. “Temtem” is much more difficult than Pokémon, which is something you’ll become aware of before you even take on the first dojo master (“Temtem’s” version of gym leaders).

All of the above tips contribute to minimizing that difficulty: By choosing the best starter, learning how battles work, being clever with your money and building teams with Tems that synergize well with one another, you’re already making the game much easier for yourself.

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But crucially, “Temtem” will constantly provide you with tips and tricks of its own. There is nothing in the game that goes unexplained, and the value you get out of “Temtem” is directly proportional to the attention you’re willing to pay it. If you appreciate “Temtem” for what it is, and are willing to engage with all of its more finicky systems like breeding, manipulating stats and more, you will see immense returns very quickly. This will also pave the way for you to enter the competitive scene (if that’s up your alley).

That’s not to say you shouldn’t have fun. “Temtem” is very silly at the best of times, and will make you laugh heartily and regularly. It just helps to meet it on its own terms from time to time. That way, you’ll have a blast without having to fight the same dojo master 50 times because their Volarend is too strong.

Let’s be honest: Nobody wants that.

Cian Maher is a freelance writer from Dublin. You can follow him on Twitter @cianmaher0.