Have you every wanted to dance, poop and play rock, paper, scissors all in one game?… Really?… Well what a coincidence, Namco just happen to have the perfect game for you!
Before the world was over-run by Pikachu and his Pokemon friends, there was Tamagotchi, a handheld virtual pet created in 1996 by Bandai. Housed in a tiny egg shaped LCD based system, the game allowed you to raise a virtual pet by feeding it, playing games and of course cleaning up after it. Three buttons on the face of the device allowed the user to perform these activities. The games where a huge success and spurned spin off games as well as a cartoon series.
Tamagotchi: Round the World takes the pet raising game of old, and creates a whole world where these strange creatures dwell. The object of the game is to complete missions by passing set tasks.
You start out with one Tamagotchi called Mametchi, a cute little critter who will help you in your tasks, as long as you look after him that is… and later you will unlock other Tamagotchi’s with their different personalities and unique dance moves.
As well as the Tamagotchi there are also Gaiatchi. These are described as the living parts of the world, and include plant life, geysers, and clouds… Most tasks involve nurturing these Gaiatchi, by getting your Tamagotchi to interact with them in certain ways. The Gaiatchi will let you know what they need from your creature through thought bubbles. For example, a seedling will require fertiliser… and this is where the pooping comes in. Tapping on the seedling will bring up an options menu of icons and from there you can tap on the poop icon. Your Tamagotchi will then wander over to the seedling, and in an amusing animated sequence, pull out a newspaper and do his business. After a short moment he’ll move to one side and proudly present his blue poo!
A more involved task is watering a seedling or tree. Tapping the rain dance icon will cause your Tamagotchi to get jiggy with it. In an Elite Beat Agents style mini game, you must tap on the appropriate circles in time with the music as well as drag your finger along stars. However, this alone will not summon the rain, a cloud must be present in the sky for the dance to work successfully. To create clouds you must keep your Geyser happy, this generally involves playing games with the geyser, such as a rock, paper, scissors mini game, and also a bubble popping game that requires you to tilt your Tamagotchi left and right and tap to jump and pop them… and occasionally your Tamagotchi will poop in a Geysers zone, which you will need to clear away. Successfully entertaining your geyser will cause him to spew forth a cloud or two. Back to the rain dance, and once enough rain has fallen on the Gaiatchi, it will display a heart to let you know it is happy.
Repeated watering and furtilising will cause seedlings to grow into trees, and trees to sprout food or new seedlings. Later levels see you managing multiple Giaitchi at the same time. It can get a bit hectic, as they can be a needy bunch. They will require a lot of work from your Tamagotchi, so you must also feed him and keep him amused with mini games also. Mini games will reward you with stars, which can be redeemed for stamps that can be collected in your virtual stamp book. There doesn’t seem any point to these stamps other than a visual record of your achievements.
There are 6 missions in all, and they pretty much feature the same kind of tasks, such as grow two seedlings, or grow a certain amount of fruit. These can take upward of 20 minutes or so, and I think for a young child possibly longer. Luckily should you need to answer a call or put the phone to sleep, the game features a resume option from where you left off.
Presentation-wise it’s certainly geared towards younger audiences. It’s all lovingly presented in bright 2D cartoon art, with almost every aspect of the game featuring blinking eyes and a smiley face. Even so, I found most of it endearing and certainly raised a smile or two, especially in the undeniably cute Tamagotchi’s and their varied dance moves.
Overall Tamagotchi is a fun little game… I say game, but in fact it’s more of an interactive toy. Yes there are mini games, but you don’t really have to win them in order to keep your creatures happy.
There are only six missions, and while they can last a while, they are very similar and I would have liked to see more variation, or simply an unlimited mode where you can keep nurturing your creatures, growing and adding to the game worlds. For the price of $5.99 it probably won’t give you value for money unless you are a diehard Tamagotchi fan and you want to earn all the stamps, well after you have completed the missions. But it will keep you entertained for a few hours with it’s charm and quirkiness.
Presentation and graphics
Well drawn 2D creatures and the surround game world. Kids will love it.
Euro pop beats are annoyingly catchy, each character has their own soundtrack for their signature dance moves.
Strange but entertaining tasks make good use of the iPhone features, particularly the touch screen though various mini games. It’s a bit easy, but Giaitchi management gets more involving in the last few missions.
There are only 6 missions, but these can be replayed to earn stars to buy stamps for your collection, in a ‘gotta buy’em all’ style. Plus other Tamogthis to unlock. New comers to the series might not get it, and persevere long enough to extract the most out of it.
A fun and quirky title, which takes the basic elements of classic Tamagotchi and builds a unique, living and breathing world around it. Tamagotchi: ‘Round the world’ is available now for $5.99 and also in a lite flavour.