In my review for Input, I called the buttons “janky,” the battery life “atrocious,” and the camera-based AR components “cheap and gimmicky” — yet concluded that I loved it. Sure, it wasn’t a perfectly executed device but it was ambitious, bringing some much-appreciated differentiation to the longstanding design.
Like the original, Pix Party has a built-in camera and touch buttons, and a predetermined roster of characters you can hatch and raise. It comes in two shell colors: Balloons (purple/pink) and Confetti (pink/blue).
New is the “Party” feature, which replaces the previous version’s indoor “Play” option. And it contains a surprising amount of stuff to do.
Pix Party swaps out two of the earlier’s non-moneymaking games for an entire multilayer “party” experience. Instead of just the Hula Hoop and Matching game from last year’s Pix, you now have the option to invite other Tamas — either NPCs you meet in-game or your friends’ pets scanned in via QR code — to your party, or attend theirs.
At first, this feature tripped me up a little (likely due to my own failure to read the manual). Upon selecting “Invite” in the Party screen, you’re asked if you’d like to “connect to invite,” meaning connect with another physical Tamagotchi device by scanning their QR code. Choose “Yes” and the camera will open up so you can do exactly that.
Now, I thought this meant that was the only way you could go host a party, and was subsequently pretty bummed out that I couldn’t use the feature with my single device. That’s… not the case. 🤦🏽♀️
Eventually, I realized I could just hit “No” and it would still take me to the party, just with the option to only host computer characters from the list of those you’ve met. Oops!
Tamagotchi Pix’s whole shtick is the built-in camera and flat, non-pushable touch buttons. The camera allows for a very, very rudimentary form of AR — you can take photos of real-world settings featuring your Tama — while the buttons let you “pet” your character with the stroke of your thumb.
It’s cute — nothing more, nothing less.
This time around, Bandai seems to have gotten the buttons (mostly) right.
The gen-1 touch buttons were terrible, correctly responding to my input only a fraction of the time. It was extremely frustrating and put many users off. Now, the buttons actually work. They seem to be lined up properly with the shell this time, at least on the model I purchased, and reach a much higher level of accuracy.
The battery life is substantially better, too. The OG Pix for me got about a laughable 4-5 days of steady use before I needed to change out the AAAs. Now I get well over a week of use; I last changed the batteries last Monday and as of this writing (the following Thursday), it’s still going strong. That’s 11 days compared to FOUR.
Maybe that means I won’t burn through my rechargeable batteries so fast now — they don’t last forever, you know. And maybe with the next update, Bandai will finally ditch the AAAs and just give us USB charging as we got in the Japan-exclusive Tamagotchi Smart.
Even the camera seems like it got a boost. The poor photo-quality didn’t bother me too much in the original seeing as it’s just a toy, but I’ve been getting much crisper shots with the Pix Party. The light balancing seems to be slightly better and there’s just a hair more detail-capture going on.
It’s still not a good camera but it’s at least exactly what you’d expect from this sort of thing. My Tamagotchi Pix photos look like they’re straight out of 2005 and, you know what, I like them that way.
And it still somehow only recognizes red, blue, yellow, white, and gray when you’re taking photos of objects for food ingredients or to use the color in your decor. Just the primary colors?!
It feels extra irksome when you look at the animations of the color mixing feature or the games that require you to select a specific color of object — purple, orange, green, you name it, all floating by. But you can never obtain them yourself using the camera. UGH.