Fans of the original N64 platformers like Donkey Kong 64, Banjo Kazooie, and Conker’s Bad Fur Day have been begging for a so-called Rare-vival since the early 2000s. Playtonic’s oft-discussed Yooka Laylee failed to recreate the magic back in 2017, and Rare itself struggled to produce after Microsoft claimed ownership of the studio. All hope seemed to have been lost after the relative failure of Sea of Thieves, but a new studio claiming to be composed of ex-golden era Rare devs seems primed to deliver with their upcoming action platformer Tamarin.
Announced on the 23rd of April, Tamarin looks to be everything the old Rare games were twenty years ago; cute, colorful, family-friendly (for the most part) experiences focused more on gameplay and exploration than narrative. Much in the same vein as Banjo Kazooie, we see the main character, a fiendishly adorable monkey-looking creature, collect items, roll, and jump in a way that seems congruent with what audiences would expect from a Rare-vival.
The trailer, now available both on YouTube and the game’s official website, doesn’t spend much time exploring the upcoming title’s plot. It looks to be simple stuff; the baddies are up to something nefarious, and the protagonist has to stop them by way of platforming across varied landscapes and collecting things.
The moment which probably had disinterested parties sit up and take notices comes roughly halfway through the trailer when the player character picks up a weapon—quite literally labeled as an uzi in-game—and blasts at enemies in a Saturday morning cartoon approximation of a third-person shooter.
These are, after all, some of the people responsible for making games like Goldeneye 007 and Perfect Dark, arguably the two most important shooters on the Nintendo 64. While Tamarin doesn’t at all appear to be similar to either of those titles, it’ll be interesting to see how much of those games were retained by these ex-Rare devs more than two decades and three console generations removed from their launch.
Tamarin is actually available for pre-order right this very moment over on the game’s website. Though the standard asking price will apparently be thirty dollars once it officially comes out, those who buy in now can get a ten percent discount. That’s a risk, of course, as the gaming populace has very little to go on at this point. What’s more, for the time being, the game will be coming to Steam, though there’s no news of any console ports. This game will invariably be described as made-for-Switch sort of ordeal, though it’s hard to tell if it will ever arrive on Nintendo’s console. To be perfectly honest, it would be a true Rare-vival if it didn't appear on a Nintendo-branded system.