Learn about the update and enter in a new contest 2/3/12-2/7/12 here
Remember Tamagotchi? Those like me who grew up in the 1990s will obviously draw parallels between Portable Pixel‘s newest game Hatchi and the popular black-and-white virtual pets of yesteryear. And while there isn’t much new added to the classic Tamagotchi formula, the retro feel and simplicity of Hatchi is a great little piece of nostalgia that reminds us of a simpler time.
For those unfamiliar, the Tamogatchi toy was based around a series of repetitive, hopelessly addictive tasks. Name your pet, hatch its egg, and then keep it alive by feeding, cleaning, and playing with it. Hatchi captures this gameplay perfectly, allowing players to interact with their pet with simple touches of a button. Best of all, Hatchi will send a notification when it needs something, the digital equivalent of a child tugging on the pant leg of a parent – although slightly less, um, intrusive, than an upset child.
Keeping the pet healthy will keep it alive longer, allowing it to evolve Pokemon-style into new forms. Inevitably, no matter how well you treat the Hatchi, it will die. Unfortunately, there are no funerals or graveyards to visit old friends, but maybe in the future Portable Pixel will add something to remember them by. Things like a photo album or graveyard to view the pets on the other side – or maybe a creepy pet cemetery to bring our beloved Hatchis back to life.
In its current version, Hatchi is a little bare-boned, and definitely would benefit from some fresh gameplay elements to separate itself from the old, handheld iteration. The developers let me know, however, that an update is pending with more pet stats, a help screen, Game Center achievements and volume controls. They also have plans for more food options and evolutions, an iPad native version and my wish, mini games and more on the horizon.
The game needs to develop its own personality to succeed in the long-term, but Hatchi is obviously headed that way and is off to a great start, capturing the joy – and sadness – of raising a virtual pet. There is a lot of potential in this little retro gem – can anybody say multiplayer battles – but for now, it’s a great old-school experience for all ages.