NINTENDO DS REVIEW: TAMAGOTCHI CONNECTION: CORNER SHOP

You've raised 'em from eggs and made them the business tycoons they are today. Now put 'em to work! Tamagotchi! Yeah! by Cole Smith

February 13, 2006 - Title alert! Although there are Tamagotchi in this game, this is not a virtual pet game. The Tamagotchi are your partners in business. Choose one of three to help you become a tycoon. Your success in business will allow you to make money to feed and clothe your Tamagotchi but that's not the main premise of the game. Your Tamagotchi won't be found belly-up in your home if he doesn't get a daily fix of fish burgers.

Tamagotchi Connection: Corner Shop is a fun and quirky game that puts you in the role of an entrepreneur as you run various businesses with your Tamogotchi partner such as a bakert, spa, music hall, dental office, florist shop, laundromat and jewelry shop. There are 11 in all. You begin with a couple of businesses and unlock the others as you increase your income.

Each business requires that you perform specific functions such as baking cakes, ironing and mending cloths, fixing customers teeth and entertaining with musical instruments. These activities are basically mini-games that are repeated incessantly in an effort to earn "gotchi" which will allow you to purchase food and furnishings. The game is fun but it's rather short and repetitive.

This game could have been more challenging if there actually were penalties for poor service. As it is, the customers may show their disapproval in their text-based thought bubbles but they don't follow through with any threats. All you have to do is continue your work at any level of quality and get your money from the customer. You don't have to be fast and you don't have to be good. In some cases you don't even have to do anything except pretend that you've done the work. This is a very simple and basic element of the gameplay that shouldn't have been neglected. It provides structure and incentive. Not all kids play games on the honor system. All you have to do is press a button and tell the customer that you're done and you'll get your money even if the customer doesn't get his goods or services. Kind of like Wal-Mart.

Tasks that you perform for your customers vary depending on the type of business you are running. If you are running a jewelry shop you will have to create jewelry in the same pattern that the customer requires. To do this you will have to choose identically colored and shaped gems and arrange them into a specific shape. When you're running the laundromat, customers' clothes must be washed, ironed free of wrinkles and mended if there are holes in them. As the dentist you will be working on peoples' teeth. They may need them pulled or cavities will have to be drilled and eventually the teeth will all have to be cleaned up with a toothbrush. If you take too long the customer will begin to cry. You can give him another shot of Novocaine to make him shut up - if you're in a good mood.

All of these tasks are accomplished with the aid of the touch screen which accesses a menu of all the items that you require. Just pick what you need, when you need it and all will be fine. There are some tasks that must be performed in a specific order, such as baking dumplings, that once you get used to you'll be able to turn out tons of them and make your money quickly. The steps including adding oil to a pan, pouring in the dough, adding the various ingredients, separating them with a pick, flipping them over and eventually serving them with condiments such as fish flakes. Fish flakes? Remember, this game originated in Japan.

In the music hall business you have to touch different icons of musical instruments to accompany the music. It's similar to a rhythm game but you aren't monitored throughout the process. You only get a score at the end of the game so you don't really know where you performed your best or where you faltered. The music is really good and it's a shame that you can't really control it as you can only react to it.

Like all the mini-games here, they are fun to explore and play but the thrill doesn't last long. It will last only as long as it takes to get enough currency to unlock a new business. There isn't any lasting appeal. There are a couple of combo businesses that you will unlock that give the game a little more length but I won't spoil the surprise on those.

The interface is great to work with and the touch controls are very responsive and well laid out. The game is presented nicely with what amounts to homespun, artsy graphics and hip, blues-based music that sounds like a real band and not some programmed MIDI loop. The characters are cutesy but their crudely drawn appearances makes them more endearing than your typical anime dorks. They don't speak but emit gibberish that is similar to Sim-speak. They do, however, express themselves through thought bubbles which gives you a clue as to what they want and their general level of satisfaction.

The game has a refreshingly organic feel to it that is bound to appeal to everyone. In fact, if you want to share it with a friend, you can have them download a demo version off of your DS. You'll not only entice them with the gameplay but you'll earn some gotchi for your effort. The lack of any substantial replay value requires me to recommend renting Corner Shop.

Features:

  • Partner with your favorite Tamagotchi character.
  • Choose your shop type and open for business!
  • Clean teeth, do laundry, perform music and more for your customers.
  • Swap items with your friends wirelessly!
  • Unlock secret codes for your Tamagotchi Connection virtual pet.

By Cole Smith
CCC Senior Writer

Rating out of 5
Tamagotchi Connection: Corner Shop (DS)
4.5
Graphics
Nice, hand drawn, folksy graphics. The characters are quirky and endearing.
5.0
Control
The touch screen and the menu/interface couldn't be easier to work with.
4.5
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The music is simply great with blues-based riffs and natural sounding instruments.
2.4
Play Value
The gameplay is repetitive and once you complete all your tasks you won't be tempted to go back into business.
3.3
Overall Rating - Fair
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.
System: DS
Dev: Nana On-Sha
Pub:Bandai
Released: Jan 2006
Players: 1
Review by Cole Smith

Review Rating Legend
1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid
2.0 - 2.4 = Poor
2.5 - 2.9 = Average
3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
3.5 - 3.9 = Good
4.0 - 4.4 = Great
4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
5.0 = The Best