Looking at the character art for My Tamagotchi Forever is like reaching back into my childhood. Unlike their pixelated forebears, these creatures look like they’re crafted out of clay, all rounded edges and big, bright shapes. They’re still adorable, and I still want to take care of them. Luckily, just like the original toy, that’s still the goal.
My Tamagotchi Forever is new version of the mid 90s toy for phones. After speeding through a tutorial on how to feed, clean, and play with your virtual pet, you’re left to your own devices. You take care of your pet to help it evolve into different pets, and you can also dress it up, take pictures of it and play some minigames. My Futabatchi evolved into a Hoshitichi late last night, and my pet will eventually evolve two more times. While My Tamagotchi Forever has added some new kinds of collectibles, like costumes, I’m most driven to see all the kinds of evolutions on offer.
Beyond just taking care of your pet, you can also dress them up and snap pictures of them. This is where some of the more irritating mobile game design elements come through. You can earn coins and experience by taking care of your pet, and also through leveling up. You use those coins to buy new outfits for your pet, as well as new locations to take pictures of them. Both of these things are expensive, and some costumes can only be unlocked after completing a series of snapshots with a certain character in a certain location. It feels tacked on and a little sleazy. Still, the snapshots you can take on the different photo locations are pretty adorable. Look at lil’ Hoshitichi on a swing set!
The mini-games you play to earn additional coins are surprisingly fun. There’s a match 3 game, “Band Practice,” where you have to tap musical notes before they drop off the screen. In “Planet Hop,” you control a Tamagotchi character on a rotating planet and have to try to time their jumps to another planet in order to collect coins. Planets have a bit of a gravitational pull, so if you go wide you have a chance of making it anyway, but you can’t push your luck. I found myself returning to this game even after my virtual pet’s “fun” meter was full.
I don’t really foresee myself forking over the coins to buy a bunch of costumes. I am in this for the virtual pets—for the feeding, the petting and the cleaning up of poop. This morning when I checked in on Hoshitichi, she was covered in poop, crying, and starving. I sighed with satisfaction. It was just like old times.