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Gamertell Review: Tamagotchi: ‘Round the World for iPod

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Tamagotchi: Round the World

Product: Tamagotchi: ‘Round the World
Price: $4.99
Publisher (Developer): Namco Networks America Inc.
Requirements: 3G and 4G iPod nano, iPod Classic, 5G iPod
Pros: Can automatically sense if you have music playing. Game divided up into missions. If you succeed at mini-games, you can buy stamps for a virtual stampbook.
Cons: No skill involved in winning Rock, Paper, Scissors. No skill involved in really any of the mini-games. Missions can be long, too eventful and annoying.
Overall: Two thumbs sideways, 70/100, C-, * * out of 5

I’ve never played a game where anthropomorphic trees would ask for a character to poop. Then, I played Tamagotchi: ”Round the World. Suddenly, I was cast into a world filled with Tamagotchi droppings. I wish I were kidding.

When you think of Tamagotchi, you likely think of those little electronic, virtual pets that were huge back in the 90’s, but have found only middling success recently. Tamagotchi: ‘Round the World isn’t like that. You can see by playing that it certainly draws inspiration from the original Tamagotchi toys, but the iPod game has more in common with the Tamagotchi Connection: Corner Shop games.

Tamagotchi: Round the World

Pick a Tamagotchi to revitalize a Gaiatchi.

Tamagotchi: ‘Round the World is something of a mission based, elective pet simulator. You pick a mission, and then must complete a goal. Usually the goal requires you to get a certain number of new trees to grow, make trees grow a certain number of fruit or get trees to send off a certain number of new seedlings. In order to reach these goals, you have to keep the tamagotchi and the Gaiatchi’s anthropomorphic trees, seedlings and geysers happy. Happy geysers shoot off clouds, happy seedlings grow into trees and happy trees make new seedlings and fruit.

The planet is circular, so scrolling the click wheel will allow you to investigate the whole surface. You have to keep an eye on all characters in the environment, as they’ll tell you via a bubble with an image in it and a ping sound that they have a new request or desire that must be fulfilled if you want them to be productive.

Tamagotchi: Round the World

Not bad, but not good either.

There’s quite a bit that is wrong in Tamagotchi: ‘Round the World. And these wrongs are enough to infuriate users.

The game is overly-demanding. It will lull you into a false sense of security, where nothing may happen for a minute or so. Then, suddenly the geyser will want to play Rock, Paper, Scissors, one plant will want Mametchi to poop on it, another will want Mametchi to do a rain dance and Mametchi will want to be tickled. I suppose this could be a way of challenging the player, but it seemed more like the planning was off.

The mini-games also require little to no skill. Rock, Paper, Scissors is played by pressing the center button to stop on one of the three items. You have to hope you stop your Tamagotchi character just as its icon is displaying the item its opponent’s icon is weak against. It’s all about luck. The other games just require you to run your finger along the click wheel, remember symbols or do basic math. It’s not challenging or entertaining.

There’s also a surprising amount of unlocking. You’d think right away that all of the missions and characters would be open to you. Nope. Instead, you have to play through missions as Mametchi to unlock the stampbook and Memetchi character. You’d think that, since you had to go to such trouble to unlock the extra characters, you’d get new missions. Wrong. When you unlock new characters, it means you get to play through the already existing missions as that character. Yay! The only difference I’ve noticed is that the different Tamagotchi characters seem to indicate the level of difficulty.

And then, there’s the pooping. I don’t know why these characters poop so much. You very rarely see them eating. Yet if you leave them alone for more than 30 seconds, I guarantee you’ll return to either see the character crouched down with a newspaper doing his/her business, or you’ll find a new steaming pile of blue dung. The plants and geysers also routinely request that the Tamagotchi character poop near them. And, if that isn’t enough excrement for you, you can go around the environment and make it poop on demand.

For all that’s potentially wrong in Tamagotchi: ‘Round the World, it does a lot of things right. It offers the game in bite-sized portions, so it works perfectly as a portable title. There aren’t any outrageous loading times, as is common in many iPod games. There isn’t any slowdown while actually playing the game because you’re moving too fast or trying to do too much at once. It automatically detects whether or not your music is playing, so you’ll hear either your music or original game tracks. The images on screen are bright, colorful and easy to see. The controls are simple and easy to use.

Tamagotchi: Round the World

If you don’t think names ending in -tchi are cute, you’re not the target audience.

Namco clearly created Tamagotchi: ‘Round the World for a specific audience – kids who enjoy the Tamagotchi products and adults who are young at heart, casual gamers who remember the original Tamagotchi toys. It’s a cute game, visually, and a somewhat entertaining casual experience that runs well on an iPod.

The thing is, it dances along the line that determines whether it is challenging or annoying. Tamagotchi: ‘Round the World gets incredibly demanding as you play some of the more challenging missions, and the rewards for completing said missions aren’t really worth it. Even the virtual stampbook, which is designed to add in replay value, isn’t much of an incentive to play. After playing four missions, I had enough money and stamps to fill nearly 50% of the book.

Site [Tamagotchi: ‘Round the World]

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