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Temtem guide: How to choose a starter

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Picking between Crystle, Smazee, Houchic

Temtem how to choose your starter Image: Crema via Polygon

Right at the beginning of Temtem, you’ll choose your starter. It’s like picking your first Pokémon. You have three choices: Smazee, a Melee type; Crystle, a Crystal type; and Houchic, a Mental type.

This early in the game, you can’t really make a wrong decision. And, you’ll soon be catching additional Temtem with your TemCards to round out your squad.

Since we can’t give you direct or definitive advice on which to choose (there is no best starter), three of us will make cases for our choices below. And then just below those, you can look at the starter Temtem stats arranged in a table that makes it easy to compare their raw numbers.

Crystle

Choosing a Temtem starter was hard. In Pokémon, I know what to expect, and I tried to use that logic to choose a creature in Temtem. I’m fond of grass Pokémon like Bulbasaur and Oddish, so when I saw Crystle, I chose it immediately. Surprise! Crystle is not a grass-type. Instead, it’s Crystal.

Crystle, like other Crystal Temtem, is weak against Fire and Earth types, but strong against Electric and Mental. All of the starters are pretty weak when Temtem begins — and, I mean, that’s the point … to get stronger over time — but choices do matter for the early game, at least a bit. Crystle is stronger in Defense (DEF) than the other two starters, with higher stats in both HP and DEF. (Houchic’s got the highest Special Defense [SPDEF] at first, though.)

Crystal may not be the strongest starter when it comes to pure attack power, but it does have some strong moves. Crystal Spikes will deal the most damage, if you’re looking to boost Crystle in that regard.

You may also want to consider the evolutions of the starter Temtem when making your pick. Crystle evolves into Sherald, which continues to play up the Temtem’s DEF stats. If you’re the type to turtle up and play a tank-like style, this evolutionary line is a good choice.

— Nicole Carpenter

Smazee

As a newcomer to Pokémon-like games in general, I was at a loss for choosing a starter. I was aware, though, that types were a thing to consider. Smazee, you’re told while deciding, is Melee type, and strong against Earth and Crystal. Crystle is Crystal type, and strong against Fire and Earth. And Houchic is Mental type, and strong against Neutral and Melee.

While this is great information, it doesn’t really help make a decision. In most games, I tend to play fairly generalized characters until I understand the game better so my options are open. I figured Smazee, being a Melee type would fit that approach.

Also, it’s a fluffy, orange monkey.

Playing with Smazee is … like playing with a generalized Temtem. They’re decidedly fine. Their basic attacks are neutral, so you’re not going to do any extra damage early on, but they’re also not weak against much so you won’t deal half damage either. For the enemies you’ll face across the beginning of the game, Smazee’s Melee/Neutral nature makes it a safe bet.

— Jeff Parkin

Houchic

Houchic is my strong, big-brained child and is part of the wonderful bait-and-switch that helps set Temtem apart from Pokémon.

As I’ve been trained to do for years when picking starters in one of Nintendo’s creature capturing games, I had assumed that the trio of little monsters I had access to from the get-go would all be each other’s natural enemy. But when it came time to choose my first companion, I didn’t get the usual rock-paper-scissor pairings of strengths and weaknesses among the three choices available to me. The creatures I can choose from at the start don’t have clearly defined advantages and disadvantages over the others, so my decision to choose my first partner was a bit more ambiguous and exciting. That being the case, I chose the type of creature Pokémon has never let me capture so early in the game.

In Pokémon, it takes hours before I get to buddy up with my favorite type of creatures: Psychic types. But in Temtem, it’s one of the first things I get to do. While I love all the adorable critters that tie elemental motifs with familiar animals in Pokémon, I’ve always been drawn to the oddities that use brain magic instead of the elements to attack.

I also picked Houchic because its type, Mental, is strong against Neutral type creatures, which I assumed would appear often in the early game. I can’t speak for the experience of others playing Temtem, but all I know is that my Houchic has been literally blowing minds, making me feel powerful right from the start — which is a far cry from how I feel in the early hours of a Pokémon game.

— Jeff Ramos

Crystle, Smazee, and Houchic starter stats

If you’re more numerically inclined, we’ve included the stats for each of the starters below.

Temtem starter stats

Name Type Strong Against Weak Against HP STA SPD ATK DEF SPATK SPDEF Trait
Name Type Strong Against Weak Against HP STA SPD ATK DEF SPATK SPDEF Trait
Crystle Crystal Electric, Mental Fire, Earth 27 22 13 16 17 14 14 Amphibian
Smazee Melee Earth, Crystal Mental 26 22 16 17 14 13 13 Fever Rush
Houchic Mental Melee, Neutral Crystal 24 22 16 14 14 17 15 Soft Touch