I’m a huge Tamagotchi fan (Exhibit A, B, and C), but after a week with the R2-D2 Tamagotchi, I realize I just spent $20 on something too extreme even for me.
I’m also a Luke Skywalker stan (hi, Mark Hamill), so I thought the Star Wars-themed virtual pet would be a perfect stocking stuffer. But this Tamagotchi is so deeply entrenched in Star Wars lore that it’s really only for the die-hard fan in your life.
The R2-D2 Tamagotchi is one of Bandai’s nano-sized branded virtual pets, joining a Hello Kitty model in addition to Gudetama, Evangelion, and Demon Slayer versions. There are slight differences in gameplay between the different themed Tamagotchi, however. The Hello Kitty one, for instance, features her cameo from scene to scene, but the actual character you raise is a Tamagotchi.
That’s not the case for the R2-D2 Tamagotchi. It’s a standalone virtual pet set entirely in the Star Wars universe, and there are no actual Tama characters that appear in the game. Instead, you’ll see Chewbacca, Jawas, Ewoks, C3PO, and even Boba Fett. Star Wars scenes appear on-screen nearly every hour: You’ll see a Bantha through macro binoculars, podracers in the desert, and B1 battle droids assembling for the clone wars. If you pay attention, you might even see Yoda’s chibi depiction on the Tamagotchi’s 30 x 24 resolution screen. Honestly, it can be a delightful experience if you’re a major fan of the franchise and not feeling overloaded by the plethora of Star Wars content already available.
So How Much Do You Love Star Wars?
Overt branding isn’t a new concept for Star Wars, a Disney brand. Since the company’s acquisition of LucasFilm in 2012, we’ve seen a second Star Wars trilogy, and a slew of shows and mini-series set in the Star Wars universe are all available to stream on Disney+. The IP is also a significant part of Disney’s theme parks. Needless to say, the R2-D2 Tamagotchi is a drop in the bucket.
I bought the R2-D2 Tamagotchi primarily to add it to my Tama collection. For the most part, it’s no different than the many others on my shelf. The R2-D2 Tamagotchi uses the same three-button array as most other Tamagotchi devices. You care for R2-D2 by filling up his meter. When he’s “hungry,” he needs a recharge, and when he’s seeking a mood booster, you can pet or wipe him down, as I like to pretend I’m doing.
Based on how much you care for him, R2-D2 will find a job after a few days, or at least I think that’s what’s happening. Right now, my R2-D2 is piloting the X-wing, presumably to help Luke blow up the Death Star or to go to Dagobah to visit Yoda. When R2-D2 needs something, the same Tamagotchi-is-concerned symbol pops up next to the X-wing, signaling that R2-D2 either needs his energy meter filled up or a pat on the back for a job well done.
If you fail to care for him or you ignore his calls, Artoo will begin to malfunction, and you’ll see his equipment start to stick out from his body. It’s a harrowing sight to see, though you can press the A button twice to restore Artoo to normal.
On the plus side, R2-D2 never dies, which I suppose is how droids work in the Star Wars universe as long as there’s a mechanic on hand to fix them. Artoo will leave on his own after 72 hours, or you’ll see him being carted away by Jawas for scrap if you fail as a parent. From there, you can start the game over to re-care for R2-D2 and get him into a new occupation.
The Mini-Games Are Actual Fun
There is a point to these electronic toys. The main goal of the R2-D2 Tamagotchi is to unlock as many of the mini-games as you possibly can. There are nine in total. Two of the mini-games are playable at any time, including a game of Dejarik, which Artoo plays against Chewie.
Other games to unlock include a slots game, a game where you dodge meteors in space, and Yoda Challenge, which shows Artoo attempting to grab Yoda’s lightsaber. BB-8 also appears in a mini-game called Letter Catch, where the little rolling robot is one of the options for a playable character that catches mail. You can view a complete list of the mini-games in the Tamagotchi Wiki. So far, it looks like I can only unlock one at a time, depending on the “job” that R2-D2 takes.
At $20, this is a reasonably affordable Tamagotchi, and if you’d rather care for the familiar R2-D2 than an alien Tamagotchi character, you can’t go wrong with this little toy. You might even prefer it over a fully branded Tamagotchi, as all the Star Wars characters featured inside this electronic egg are also in the movies.
But even though I appreciate a Star Wars film as much as the next person, I’m not the target audience for this toy. I much prefer the care and feeding of standard Tamagotchi characters to watching Star Wars scenes. If you’re a die-hard Star Wars fan who could care less about Tamagotchi, this might be the gadget for you.