Namco Bandai has released a new Android Tamagotchi app called Tamagotchi L.i.f.e. The acronym standards for “love is fun everywhere,” which is arguable depending on which stage of love you’re in, and which probably accounts for its February 14 release date. But is Tamagotchi L.i.f.e. itself fun everywhere? I’ve been playing it today to find out. And by playing I mostly mean ignoring.
The Android Tamagotchi is very similar to the one that used to live in its own dedicated hardware keychain, and there’s even an emulator mode you start off in what looks exactly like the toy itself with its familiar egg-ish appearance. Part of the appeal of the game is that you can unlock new egg cases to house your Tamaotchi in this mode, controlling it with three virtual buttons and viewing you virtual pet as the single color blob of pixels that may inspire some nostalgia.
Doing it this way provokes ample frustration, however, as soon as you realize that you’re using a space-aged device with full touch capabilities and a gorgeous display. But Namco Bandai knows this, so they’ve provided a zoomed in mode that brings you up close and personal with your Tamagotchi, rendered in two colors instead of one, with touch interaction and the ability to tap on icons directly to feed it, bathe it, medicate it or scold it.
You can also now play Rock, Paper, Scissors with your Tamagotchi! But to do that well you have to lose, since your virtual pet only gets satisfaction out of the game if it wins or ties. I actually found losing to be pretty difficult, which means I think that my Tamagotchi isn’t very fond of me. And it probably doesn’t help that every time I open the app it’s rolling or sliding or however it moves in an agitated little circle next to at least three poops. This despite the fact that I don’t feed it.
Tamagotchi L.i.f.e. is free, but that’s a curse as much as it is a benefit, since that comes with an extremely tacky-looking and hard to miss add plastered on the bottom of the screen all the time. I wanted to like this game because I remember when Tamagotchis were a thing, but this app just made me feel inadequate as a caretaker, and I’ve got enough of that going on in my real life. My advice? Stay tuned, there are much more exciting things on the horizon.