Last Sunday I dug out my Pocket Sakura, stole the CR2032 battery from my Neo Geo Pocket Colour and started up my little walking-simulator-that-requires-actual-walking with the intent of finally playing one of these damned Tamagotchi-ish things properly and not shaking the thing to generate extra steps (aka: cheating) or shoving it in a drawer after a few hours to prevent me from feeding it through a paper shredder.
So I did! For three days Sakura went everywhere with me; I answered when she beeped (which isn’t very often), I interacted with her as much as the device allows and I worried about whether we should walk to Shiba or Ueno in the morning. Not even a battery replacement after a 9000 step morning walk was going to stop me!
But by day four (a new personal record for me), I’d left her on the table and stopped checking in on her.
My usual problem with these things is that they’re too needy for my tastes and I soon end up leaving them to die starving and dirty in the dark. Sakura’s problem is the exact opposite – she’s chirpy and cheerful no matter how much attention she gets, and as someone who’s quite a fan of not doing more work than necessary I was quite content to leave her be, safe in the knowledge that she’d be exactly as smiley at home as she would be if I’d attached her to my belt and took her up Mount Everest.
It’s not all bad though, the sprites are well done and I can’t really fault the hardware (and most perhaps most importantly the belt clip), the only problem just happens to be a big one - your input feels entirely superfluous to Sakura’s jaunt around Tokyo. If you want retro-styled portable Sakura Taisen then please check out the Game Boy games; they’re both very different from each other but they both capture the spirit of the series well. This thing though? Leave it in its box.