Shhh! I'm Tess. Torn sent me to spy on Krew. Play along, and I may be able to get my hands on a few of Krew's secrets.”— Tess, Jak II
Tess is first introduced in Jak II when Jak and Daxter first arrived at the Underground's hideout in the Slums. She is later found at the Hip Hog Heaven Saloon, working for the Underground as a spy on Krew, a ganglord entangled in the city's affairs, inside and out. During this time, Tess shows attraction to Daxter, falling easily for Daxter's stretched tale of him being a hero. She is eventually arrested and imprisoned before being rescued by the duo along with Samos Hagai.
Shortly after Krew's death Tess informs Jak and Daxter that she found something strange on the Hip Hog Saloon's Wack-a-mole machine, which turns out to be the Time Map Keira needed for the Rift Rider. Tess took the Time Map to Keira while Jak went to rescue Sig from a suicide mission Krew had sent him for.
After the Underground and the New Krimzon Guard merged into the Freedom League, Tess became a weapons designer working at the gun course, creating new weapons for the war effort, giving Jak the Gyro Burster and Plasmite RPG. She also helped Keira with adding the jet repulsor to the JET-Board. When Daxter is granted a pair of pants by the Precursor Leader towards the end of the game, Tess wished she had a pair just like them. The Precursor then said "be careful what you wish for." before granting Tess the pants... and turning her into an Ottsel so she could fit into them. Tess didn't take long to adapt to her new form and with the removal of the species barrier, Tess and Daxter truly began their relationship. The two ottsels attempted to kiss before Jak walked behind them and interrupted them, reciprocal of Daxter's role to Jak.
As a human, Tess is a tall, slender female with blonde hair, blue eyes, and pale skin. In all games she appears in (including her in ottsel form) she wears a green, heavy-duty top that stops above her midriff with brown suspenders and short denim shorts, with tall brown boots which strap around beneath her knees. Her overall character is portrayed and depicted as cute, with a petite, elfin-like face.
As an ottsel, Tess' general impression was recognizable, having the same clothing, hair, and primary identifying features, although she was much shorter, had orange and yellow fur, and features typical to ottsels.
Tess' most attributable character trait is her bubbly and outgoing personality. She is almost always giggling, especially at Daxter, and believes nearly everything he tells her (unlike most characters in the series). However, she is also portrayed as fiercely protective of Daxter, and a committed expert to designing and manufacturing weapons.
- Tess appears as a cameo character in an unlockable cinematic in the secrets menu of Jak X: Combat Racing.
- Tess appears at the ending cinematic of PSP game Daxter, seen stroking Daxter's back in admiration after he finishes his story of how he rescued Jak from prison.
- A female character named Tess appears in The Last of Us, a game also developed by Naughty Dog.