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Tamagotchi Uni finally feels complete after its biggest update yet

The Tama Portal is open, DLC is here and there’s finally an expanded storage option for your excess items.

Photo by Cheyenne MacDonald / Engadget

Ever since Tamagotchi Uni became globally available last summer, it’s felt like a product with a lot of unrealized potential.

Bear in mind, I say this as someone who loves this device and has run it daily since launch. But on top of all the basic activities one would expect at this point from the digital pet toy, the Wi-Fi capable Tamagotchi Uni promised users the “Tamaverse” — a virtual playground that would broaden the Tamagotchi experience like never before. So far, it hasn’t, really.

Sure, players could send their characters there to “meet” others, go on little vacations and buy outfits, but those small activities don’t really add much substance. The “travel” experience involved watching short animation, and occasionally getting a special food dish, item or achievement badge. Even the aspect of mingling was sorely limited, allowing players to send just one Heart (a “like” to acknowledge another player’s Tamagotchi) per day.

The Tamaverse has been slow to live up to the expectations Bandai set, despite it being the Uni’s biggest selling point. That seems to be changing in a big way.

With an update that rolled out on March 19 — version 1.6.0 — Bandai opened the Tama Portal, an area of the Tamaverse that’s been cordoned off all this time. A few days after, it dropped the first two DLC packs for Tamagotchi Uni in the form of “Tamaverse Tickets,” which allow users to travel to new locations through that portal. In a bonus, non-Tamaverse-related move, the update also answers players’ desperate pleas for more item storage by adding “My Box,” where surplus items can be stowed so you no longer need to delete older goodies to make room for new ones.

Promotional images for Tamagotchi Uni Tamaverse Tickets to Very Berry Land and LoveMelo Concert
Promotional images for Tamagotchi Uni Tamaverse Tickets to Very Berry Land and LoveMelo Concert (Bandai)

The first two Tamaverse Tickets, as the DLCs are being called, are available now. One, which takes you to Very Berry Land, is free, while the other, for the LoveMelo Concert, costs $6. Each new area comes with a slew of additional characters you can raise (including some that are brand new for the franchise), an on-theme mini-game and a shop with new food, items, accessories and furniture you can buy with Gotchi Points.

This is the kind of depth the virtual space always seemed to imply. Now it feels like we’re finally seeing what the Tamaverse can really be. Hopefully, it’s just the start.

There will undoubtedly be some who balk at having to pay for DLC beyond the one freebie, and while I can’t say I’d blame them for that, it doesn’t bother me for what we’re getting. Purchasing a ticket gives you access to a download code that can be used three times. Once the code is registered to a device, you can visit that location as much as you want, and switch freely between the different locations you’ve downloaded. That means I was able to use the same codes to download Very Berry Land and LoveMelo Concert on both of my Tamagotchi Uni devices, and still have one use left for each ticket in case I ever have to do a reset.

As was the case with the Tamagotchi Smart’s DLC, the physical TamaSma cards, only one Tamaverse Ticket can be active at a time, so switching will wipe out any location-specific items or food in your inventory, but you won’t need to reenter the code in order to switch back. All of a person’s downloaded locations can be found in a new list called DL Area when you visit the Tama Portal.

12 new Tamagotchi characters added to Tamagotchi Uni with the Very Berry Land and LoveMelo Concert DLCs
12 new Tamagotchi characters added to Tamagotchi Uni with the Very Berry Land and LoveMelo Concert DLCs (Bandai)

It’s not just one or two characters that come with each location, either — you get six. Some people buy whole new devices for that kind of expansion (definitely not me… haha…). And the free Very Berry Land brings back the fan-favorite adorable strawberry, Ichigotchi, which feels like a win for everyone.

The DLC also reintroduces the method of obtaining specific characters by feeding your fledgling Tamagotchis certain meals or playing with a particular item three times before they reach adulthood. I was excited to try and get the new character, Tanghulutchi, that comes with Very Berry Land, and fed my teen Tama an abundance of Fruit Candy snacks in hopes that it would make her appear. It worked! (I’m now also fiending for the real candied fruit treat of its namesake, Tanghulu. Thanks Bandai).

Once I’m strong enough to part with Memetchi on my other device, which is running LoveMelo Concert, I’ll probably try to get Drumcrubitchi, a new character that’s literally a drum kit with a face.

Pink Tamagotchi Uni pictured in a hand displaying the new character Tanghulutchi
Pink Tamagotchi Uni pictured in a hand displaying the new character Tanghulutchi (Photo by Cheyenne MacDonald / Engadget)

All of the things you can purchase in the Tama Portal locations are as of now much cheaper than the usual Tama Mall offerings, with furniture and accessories falling between 200 and 500 Gotchi Points. It’s really nice to have some new mini-games to freshen up the daily routine, since there aren’t many built into the device when it’s offline, and the ones they’ve added to the first Tamaverse locations are great.

In Very Berry Land, you can play Cake Factory, where you have to move your character around to place strawberries on top of cake slices as they come down the conveyor belt. It’s a game style we’ve seen before, but is slightly more exciting than other similar versions because the pace really picks up in the second half of the round.

LoveMelo Concert brings back the popular Guitar-Hero-style rhythm game format we saw (twice) in the Tama Arena’s Nyanoe Dance, but the new Happy Happy Harmony features a different song for you to try and keep up with. It’s actually pretty challenging, and is the type of game I’ll have to obsessively revisit until I’ve perfected it. Nyanoe Dance was clearly well received, and I’m sure a lot of fans will be happy that a version of it has found a permanent home in the Uni one way or another.

Tamagotchi Uni LoveMelo Concert game
Tamagotchi Uni LoveMelo Concert game (Photo by Cheyenne MacDonald / Engadget)

One of the best things about previous versions of the modern Tamagotchi, like the Tamagotchi On, was the joy of discovery when you unlocked a new location. The new Tama Portal destinations garner that same feeling, and I can only hope Bandai will keep it going even beyond the additional expansions it teased with update 1.6.0.

The announcement materials indicated that there are at least three more DL Areas on the way, including the Tamamori Fashion Show that’s set to drop at the end of May. That world introduces some more absolutely unhinged Tamagotchi character designs — like a pair of anthropomorphic work boots named, I kid you not, Bootsbrothers — and I truly cannot wait. The other areas haven’t yet been revealed.