Say Cheese

Tamagotchi Pix Party is everything the first-gen Pix hoped to be

From camera quality and battery life to those notorious touch buttons, Pix Party brings upgrades all around.

Bandai

When Bandai released the first iteration of its next-gen Tamagotchi Pix last year, it’s safe to say I had some conflicting feelings.

Bandai

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.

Cheyenne MacDonald / Input

“Whether or not poor battery life and finicky buttons are deal-breakers for you is a different story,” I wrote at the time. “For me, they’re not — though I hope Bandai hears all of these early complaints and implements some fixes.”

Cheyenne MacDonald / Input

Well, it seems Bandai sure did.

Bandai

Tamagotchi Pix 2.0, or, officially, the Tamagotchi Pix Party, dropped at the end of June and I’ve been running it consistently ever since. It is, much to my delight, an improvement in just about every way.

Cheyenne MacDonald / Input

Pix Party isn’t all that different from the first-generation Pix in terms of features (pictured side by side, respectively, in the previous slide). Actually, it’s basically the same — but better.

Cheyenne MacDonald / Input

Getting Dax’s stamp of approval

Cheyenne MacDonald / Input

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.

Cheyenne MacDonald / Input

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.

Cheyenne MacDonald / Input

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.

Cheyenne MacDonald / Input

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!

Cheyenne MacDonald / Input

Party Time

Once the party’s started, you can cook for your guests using the camera to select ingredients, take a group photo, or play a game. There are three games, which rotate similarly to how the ones in the Arcade do.

Bandai

You’ve got Bingo, which is a pretty straightforward interpretation of the classic game, DJ Play, a kind of Simon Says game of directional swiping, and Gift Game, a musical-chairs-style game of luck that results in one player receiving an item.

Cheyenne MacDonald / Input

This alone adds some welcome variety to the daily gameplay. All the other games, including the “career training” ones, are the same as seen in the previous device. I would have liked to see something new here, but Party is a good addition.

Cheyenne MacDonald / Input

Everything else

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.

Cheyenne MacDonald / Input

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.

Cheyenne MacDonald / Input

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.

Cheyenne MacDonald / Input

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.

Cheyenne MacDonald / Input

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.

Cheyenne MacDonald / Input

Still, I’ve got a few gripes about the Tamagotchi Pix. There remains no way to extract your pictures from the device itself. That’s good for security reasons but it still would be nice to be able to upload a high-res version of your “shot on Tamagotchi” pics (pix, lol).

Cheyenne MacDonald / Input

Cheyenne MacDonald / Input

Since the internal storage only fits 100 photos maximum and the fake social media built into the UX only lets you upload a total of 10 images, it’d be nice to get your pictures off the device to free up space instead of having to delete them.

Cheyenne MacDonald / Input

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.

Cheyenne MacDonald / Input

Cheyenne MacDonald / Input

$60

Bandai