Tamagotchi Connection: Corner Shop 3
Reviewed by Brandy Shaul
Review Date Platform Genre Rating Production
2008-07-05 Nintendo DS Mini-games E (Everyone) Namco Bandai / Nana-On-Sha

The Tamagotchi Connection: Corner Shop series debuted on the DS back in 2006. Now in its third installment, appropriately named Corner Shop 3 allows players to venture back into TamaTown and take over various shops in an effort to renew the city's appeal.

This time around, players are met with the choice of four Tamagotchi partners, instead of three as in previous installments. Mametchi, Kuchipatchi and Memetchi return as choices, with Violetchi, my personal favorite, being the new choice available. Unfortunately, most of the gameplay and dialogue remains the same regardless of which Tamagotchi you choose to be your partner, making the choice more about visual appeal than anything more meaningful.

After being summoned by the Mayor of TamaTown, you are left with the task of working with one of your four Tamagotchi partners in various shops throughout town, with stores ranging from a relaxing day spa where you give facials (among other things) to the local Tamagotchis to a down-in-the-dirt archaeological dig that asks you to find the locals' missing treasures.

Each store comes equipped with its own mini-game and four different levels of increasing difficulty. More options become available in each game as you progress, and each level requires you to serve more customers before you can progress.

For instance, in the ice cream parlor, you are placed behind the counter to fill various orders for sundaes, floats and cones. At first, you are simply asked to create a one flavor cone with one or two toppings. However, by the time your shop has advanced to its highest level, you'll be making four flavor combinations with fruit and nut garnishes. This shop, along with the piano studio, allows for the most fun that can be had in the game.

In the piano studio, you are asked to give piano lessons to the local Tamagotchis. Each customer will request a certain tune, ranging from simple songs like Twinkle Twinkle Little Star in the beginning levels all the way up to intense symphonies and options such as the Turkish Waltz or the Minuet. But don't worry, as you won't have to actually play each note correctly to pass. Instead, three colors of notes will slide across the touch screen, requiring you to tap in the appropriate colored box on the piano to "play" the song. Of course it will be easier to play each song if you have previous experience with how it sounds, but the game is pretty lenient in terms of grading your performance, so no real worries there. This rhythm game is very similar to various Guitar Hero or Donkey Konga titles, allowing for a pretty entertaining time throughout.

It's more likely than not, however, that you will quickly catch on to the major problem with the game, that being its wholly repetitive nature. While each stall may ask you to perform different tasks or create different objects, the overall methods of success are the same, forcing you to go through the same step-by-step process dozens of time throughout the course of the game.

The only good thing about this, however, is the fact that you don't have to complete each level in one sitting. Instead, you can help one or two customers in one shop then head over to another to help more Tamagotchis.

Once you return to your first shop, your customer total will remain, giving you the option of taking a break from a certain store indefinitely, if you wished, without losing any progress.

Once you have successfully completed a level or a store entirely, you will unlock items such as food and clothing for your Tamagotchis. As you progress, you'll also be given the opportunity to visit the park in town and decorate it with various items such as fountains and picket fences. You can even go so far as to change the color of the Clock Tower which serves as your home base throughout the game, and as the place where your four partner choices can always be found.

Other options include a Wi-Fi ability that allows you to wirelessly trade items and notes with friends, in addition to the ability to dig for treasure and garden outside their respective shops. That is, you can plant a garden in the park, or dig for your own special treasures as well.

While each mini-game might be unique, the one thing that ties the whole game together is the adorable graphical style here. Over the course of the game, you will interact with dozens of various Tamagotchis with all sharing the same 2D layout and pallet of exceedingly vibrant colors.

The stores and other backgrounds themselves are also 2D, but what they lack in intricate details, they make up for in cuteness. Overall, the graphics here are very simple, yet very satisfying, in a way that only this franchise could pull off.

The soundtrack throughout the game deserves the same praise, with catchy little tunes that will quickly having you humming along, as well as the attention to detail that each song receives in the piano instruction shop. However, the sound effects in each store take a definite turn for the worst.

While some of the Tamagotchi voices are quite high pitched and cute, the sound effects for running water, the stirring of ice cream, the fertilizing of garden plants (to name a few) are downright annoying. Luckily, there is always the option of turning the sound down, and with the exception of the piano studio, the gameplay isn't really affected by doing so.

In the end, Corner Shop 3 may take full advantage of the Nintendo DS's touch screen capabilities by offering a multitude of interactive mini-games, but the exceedingly repetitive nature of the game as a whole reserves the title a recommendation solely for those who are previous fans of the series, or for younger children who won't notice that they're being forced to do the same thing 20 times in a row.

Special thanks to Nick O'Leary and Namco Bandai for providing a copy of this title.