Trips to the toy store these days are full of unabashed pleasure for me. With the return of retro (ouch) trends, I see a revival of the beloved playmates of my childhood. Every aisle makes me feel like running into a long-lost friend, like Polly Pocket or Mr Potato Headand especially a range of candy colors Tamagotchiswhich are now finding their way back to key rings and purses from the children’s set.
Tamagotchis are digital pets that became popular in the mid-1990s, along with a slew of other virtual pets such as Nanobabies and Gigapets. For example, I was obsessed with my old-school Tamagotchi, following his growth religiously and showing him off to friends during recess. So when I saw a new generation of tech-heavy Tamagotchi Pix When I appeared on the Christmas gift lists, I was intrigued. I even admit that I put it on my daughter’s wish list, assuming that I too could vicariously relive a piece of childhood through her.
She received a Tamagotchi Pix for her 6th birthday, which drew confused looks from her grandparents wondering « how a little thing could cost so much. » And they are right; at about $50 per pet, it is much more expensive than the Tamagotchis of my childhood. But with this new model you get so much more functionality. Every morning my daughter now runs around looking for Tama-Bama, as we call our pet, and she’s eager to see if he’s grown. To my infinite surprise, she’s enthusiastic about cleaning up his virtual poop, and does a pretty good job of feeding him at mealtimes.
We’ve had our Tamagotchi for a month now and are now ready to sing its praises – and provide some vantage points for parents and kids looking to venture into the world of virtual pet ownership.
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Bandai Tamagotchi Pix at a glance
- Lots of functionality including games, socializing with other Tamagotchi users and app integration
- Clear, high-quality graphics on a wider screen
- Lots of Tamagotchi interaction (could also be a scammer, admittedly)
- Variety of Tamagotchi characters
- Mini camera integration for taking snapshots of Tamagotchi (and yourself!), letting your pet explore your environment, and compose cooking/DIY ingredients
- Requires AAA batteries that will not last long
- No easy « pause » mode
- Limited Instructions
- Could be a bit more work than younger kids can handle
|Price:||$48.39 from Amazon|
|Color Options:||6 (balloons, flowers, confetti, nature, ocean, sky)|
|Dimensions:||1.5 x 2.4 x 2.8 inches|
|Batteries:||2 AAA required|
|Age recommendation:||6 years and older|
What can you do with a Tamagotchi Pix?
Down to the last detail. Tamagotchi Pix differs from previous generations in that it is much more interactive – for both the user and friends who want to ‘connect’ Tamagotchis for playdates. You get an egg from outer space that you raise for about a week (seven Tamagotchi years) from infancy to adulthood. Each egg is a surprise, so you never know which new Tamagotchi you’ll end up with! We’ve had three pets, with no repeats. (These 24 characters have different temperaments and preferences that determine the things that make them happiest, just like a real pet.)
Your goal is to keep the Tamagotchi alive and healthy, both emotionally and physically. There is a status screen that keeps track of how hungry your pet is, as well as how happy and connected they are with you.
The functionality of this new generation Tamagotchi is far superior to previous generations. You can feed your Tamagotchi by looting the fridge (where you can store various groceries), going to a restaurant with a changing daily menu or cooking in the virtual kitchen. Beware – as your Tamagotchi ages, they will express their preferences quite forcefully. To pay for this food you buy for your virtual pet, you have to play mini-games or enter prize draws to earn Gotchi Points. The money you earn is saved for future purchases, including dining out, shopping for accessories, and even room renovations.
For relaxation, Tamagotchi can visit many places, including the front yard to water their yard, as well as to the park, shopping center and arcade. They will meet many friends who will teach them new skills. You can also build and customize toys, accessories and furniture for your pet, giving them lots of things to play with. Our current Tamagotchi seems to enjoy skating and building blocks the most. Happy Tamagotchis are the ones that are cuddled, put to bed on time, washed, fed and played with. They wake up at 8am and go to bed at 9pm, unfortunately with no naps! As your pet ages, they can « train » in different rooms of the house, including a podium, kitchen, and customization area for interacting with furniture and accessories. The pet’s performance and consistency in these rooms will determine their future career once they arrive on their home planet (you’ll know when they’ve « arrived » when they don the uniform for work!). There’s a handful career opportunities for every Tamagotchi, such as chef, DJ, samurai and of course social media influencer.
After those seven days of successfully raising an adult Tamagotchi, they will begin to ask you to take a photo album of their adventures, indicating that they intend to flee the nest. Then you can send them back to their home planet with a hug and a wave. When you return, a new egg will be waiting for you. It’s quite a fun and innovative life cycle that brings a lot of collaboration and challenges. And by providing a new pet right after a Tamagotchi is raised, the game continues endlessly without kids getting bored of an eternal pet.
There are also plenty of connectivity options. You can download the app and use it to hire a « sitter » to watch your pet while the kids are at school. If you have friends with Tamagotchi Pix, you can connect via QR codes or gift items. We haven’t fully explored all the app options, but they can really improve the functionality of the virtual pet if you have an older child ready for new challenges. But the app is optional; you have hours of fun without it.
What to consider with a Tamagotchi Pix
Overall my daughter really enjoyed her pet. It’s sweet and fun, with so many great sounds and interesting new features. Honestly, I enjoyed it almost as much! The Tamagotchi makes for a quick distraction when I see it on the counter, and we love to admire it together. But here’s the problem: I don’t feel like it’s really parentless for a kid her age. The included instructions are very short, so we relied a lot on tutorials and the Tamagotchi Pix website to help us with our questions, such as how to play certain arcade games or what to do when our Tamagotchi gets sick. Older kids will probably do well, but there’s definitely a learning curve for the 8-and-under set, especially if they haven’t had much exposure to digital screens.
Our battery was also empty terribly fast – within three or four days with regular use (which I believe is) obliged if you want to play with the pet as it is intended!). I was quite disappointed with the battery life, although I researched that many people saved their battery life with little hacks like adjusting brightness and limiting the camera’s battery usage. I ended up buying rechargeable batteries to get around this conundrum, but it’s an obvious pain (and extra expense!).
There is no actual pause button on your Tamagotchi, which is fine if you are resigned to seeing a sad little skull face hovering by your pet’s head. (My daughter wasn’t.) So if your child is in school or on vacation, buckle up — you’re the actual caregiver. Over there is an on-app babysitting feature that you pay for in (fake) Tamagotchi dollars, from 7:00 AM to 6:55 PM, that will keep your pet fed and happy. It’s the equivalent of a pause button, but I don’t like the thought of having to download anything extra to access that feature.
Would we buy a Tamagotchi Pix again?
Overall, we found the Tamagotchi Pix to be very fun and engaging. In fact, it has become a family activity where we all trade the pet back and forth throughout the day as we are available to play with and feed it. I think it’s one of those toys that kids will love for a few weeks, then might become less excited after they’ve figured out all the features. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth it, especially if you’re looking for a gift that provides a quiet diversion for rainy afternoons, school holidays, or as a travel activity.
My biggest recommendation for this toy is to prepare yourself for intervention and additional care when your child is younger. Just now, our Tama-Bama beeps at me as a not-so-subtle nudge to take him to a restaurant for his second breakfast of the day. But when my daughter comes home, she reaches for her pet and marvels at its growth, laying down for a few minutes of cozy delight. That makes the occasional virtual feeding and pooping worthwhile for me.
The Tamagotchi Pix is a fun digital pet with an immersive world and tons of cool new functionality – a big upgrade from the virtual pets of the 1990s! Feed your pet, wash them, play with them and take them on an adventure. Kids will love all the features and the sense of accomplishment they get after successfully raising their own Tamagotchi.