The Australian Outback is exactly as you'd expect it to be. It's flat. It's red. It's full of talking animals. The last bit isn't strictly true, but then anything's possible after you've been baffled by nothingness and 50-degree Celsius heat for a few days. Tasmania's a little different to the rest of it, being covered in rainforest and rocks, but "different fish, same bucket," as the talking animals would say. Ty the Tasmanian Tiger is as Australian as they come.
You may think it's clichéd. [Phew, thanks! -Ed] You may suspend disbelief when you hear Australians call people "stinkers" and "rippers". You'd be wrong. So it's not massively surprising that as a parody of Australia itself, Ty the Tasmanian Tiger 2: Bush Rescue, EA's platforming sequel based on the country that gave the world "Little" Sal and XXXX, is so Australian it makes Neighbours look like a Buckingham Palace tea party.
Good on yer, mate
In the first hour of Ty 2, you hear the phrases, "Shocker", "Good on yer, mate", "Little beauty", "Cobber", "Goner", "Stinker" and "Righto", along with same many others taken directly from the largest island on earth that it's almost overwhelming. Characters are largely koalas and parakeets, the Tasmanian tiger himself, kangaroos and echidnas. Ty 2 is the most Australian game ever made. Mate.
But while the setting may be highly localised, the gameplay isn't. Ty 2 is another homogenised, high standard platformer aimed at the little nippers, as anyone familiar with the first game will testify. Following from events in Ty, the game opens with an explanation of previous exploits, namely the imprisoning of the evil Cass, relayed in a thick Marlboro-ised film trailer voice, which precedes loads of shooting lizards with your "rangs".
The first ten minutes are exciting as Ty and his colleagues whack the lizards and collect the opals that appear as a result, while koala police types surround them with laser guns. You take on a mech, then a huge mortar thing, a few mech-on-mech action scenarios and some dropships. It's cartoon near-future action. In Australia. And it's actually reasonably exciting, even for an old person.
Chuck us a tube, cobber
The style is reminiscent of Sonic after completing large battle stages, what with all the cartoon lovelies slapping each other in the back and squeaking, "We couldn't have done it without you!" in okka accents cracked with emotion. After all this, the Bush Rescue itself is opened, with its observation tower and research laboratory, and this becomes the hub of the game, with missions radiating away from it. It turns out the now-free Cass has set up his own country so he's got diplomatic immunity whenever he comes over to Tasmania. And Sergeant Bluey can't touch him. There's plenty of humour adults will enjoy in Ty, but it's absolutely squeaky clean, as you'd expect. Apart from the "bush" references, obviously. We're really sorry.
From this point the game slows considerably, and drives towards exploration over action. You're trained by cartoon characters, do missions for cartoon characters, solve simple puzzles, and so on. Ty himself is a versatile chap. He can jump, float, grind on ropes, bite, swim and go gliding, which gives way to some impressive seamless sections incorporating water, rocks, buildings and sub-missions. Perfectly adequate, blue.
Ty completes missions and collects Chromium Orbs (more valuable that the opals) by buying 25 boomerang variants, which let him melt stuff, freeze stuff and hook onto stuff. There's even an x-ray 'rang. Who'd have thought? Vehicles also play a heavy role in the game, and it's not long before you get to try your hand at piloting helicopters, 4x4s and go karts. There's even a full go-kart game included as an extra, which adds replay value. It's all solid and fuses town environments with outback areas. Ty 2's not graphical genius by a long chalk, but it's certainly no slouch. It's polished, accomplished stuff. Unfortunately, it won't be setting any bush on fire soon.
Strewth, blue. Give us a rest?
Ty 2 is as generic as a platformer can be. It's a game in the tradition of the original Jak & Daxter, but comparing the two is like holding a light to the abyss. Ty 2 has you doing action after action with no real challenge, and while the production values are commendable, no one over the age of about eight will want much to do with it. There's not even that much to say about it. It's just... average to play. Feel safe to buy this for your kids, mate. In no way pass over the wonga for it yourself.