This is a review of Tamagotchi Connection:  Corner Shop 2 on the DS, published on May 25th 2007 on N-Europe.  It’s the first review I ever wrote, and I’ve learned a lot in the years since it was published.  While it’s imperfect, I’m still extremely proud of it, even if it makes me cringe a bit!

Tamagotchi was a franchise that took the world by storm back in 1996. Starting off its quest for world domination in the form of an egg-shaped computer with three buttons and a screen simpler than a hillbilly with short-term memory loss, Tamagotchi is what can now be classed as a fad. After everyone bought one, cared for their pixellated critter and watched it die, the craze seemed to slowly die out over the years… Or did it?

Enter Tamagotchi Connection: Corner Shop 2, a spin-off of the main franchise which sees you opening several shops and serving the needs of over 100 Tamagotchi. Excited yet? Well you have no reason to be, as the game fails as a regretful attempt at the minigame genre which no seasoned or even casual gamer should have to endure.

Tamagotchi was a franchise that took the world by storm back in 1996.  Starting off its quest for world domination in the form of an egg-shaped computer with three buttons, after everyone bought one, cared for their pixellated critter and watched it die, the craze seemed to slowly die out over the years.

Tamagotchi has never actually had a proper storyline, but the attempt here is so futile that they may as well have left it out. One day, your Tamagotchi literally just walks up to you and says, “Let’s open a shop together”, so beginning the series of events that uncoil as you play the game. By the way, those events are opening shops. Again. And again. And again.

So allow me to expand on the shops. When you start the game, you have some ‘Gotchi Points’ on your screen which can be used to open a store in the local shopping centre. Tap the store with your stylus and purchase it to let the repetitive minigame ‘action’ begin. One of your first stores will be the bakery, a simple (and at times, fiendish) introduction to the game. In this shop, you’ll await customers who are so linear that they could say the same thing every time they enter the shop. They demand a cake, and you are then presented with the… erm… cake-making screen.

tamaWe sure hope so.

This is where the magic of the game happens. You choose the shape that you want your cake to be, and then pour the right colour of cake mixture into the mould by tapping the bowl with your stylus. I’d like to be shown a less imaginative use of the touch screen. Then, you put the cake into the oven, and take it out when it has been fully baked (you should hear a ‘ping’ after it’s been cooking for several seconds). Then it’s time to get creative with decorations. You have to match the description of the cake that your customer wants, so you can’t go ape on the icing and strawberries.

When you’ve finished your culinary masterpiece, you may now hand it over to your customer. Their reaction (and the reaction of others) changes the amount of customers that will visit your store in the future; so if you completely mess up several cakes, then customers will become like rain in the Sahara Desert. Rated out of three smiley faces, you will find yourself eagerly awaiting the reaction of your colourful and disturbingly happy customer. If they don’t like the cake, or if it doesn’t live up to their pixelly standards, then they will give you feedback, which can sometimes be as cryptic as Yoda speaking in Sindarin anagrams. By the way, regardless of what their opinion of the cake is, they will pay full price for your food, no matter how much they whine.

You have to match the description of the cake that your customer wants, so you can’t go ape on the icing and strawberries.

After you manage to turn some frowns upside down in your many shops, you will receive a special visitor waiting in the line in the form of Princess Tamako, who appears to get extra special treatment from our Tamagotchi friend. She will ask for a royal cake, or the equivalent in whichever shop you are serving her in. Think of this as the boss stage of Corner Shop 2, without the need to pepper the princess with bombs or jump on her head. After you serve her, and if she is pleased with your efforts, she suggests that you should upgrade the shop. Our Tamagotchi friend begins to sulk about not having the money to do such a task (which seems like a major hint to the princess in my eyes), which is the princess’s cue to upgrade the shop to be bigger and better than ever before! Fun, eh?

It’s not all minigames and serving ungrateful swines and royalty: there are still elements of the original Tamagotchi capsule in this spin-off. You can use your Gotchi Points to buy furniture and food for your little Tamagotchi, which all seems rather pointless as he never uses any of it. One nice little addition was the inclusion of a DS and Wii available for purchase after you input some codes from the instruction manual. The little critter exclaims, “Nintendo make the best games!” when you purchase one of the consoles. Too bad that he doesn’t appear able to use them.

Overall, Tamagotchi is not a terrible game, but it is extremely repetitive and linear. There are some lovely, colourful and retina-burning graphics to go with a relaxing ‘plinky-plonk’ soundtrack. One for die-hard Tamagotchi fans and young children.

6/10

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