Nov 14, 2012
Pagers. The Macarena. AOL. The decline of MC Hammer.
Pray tell, what is there NOT to love about the wonderful, glorious 90s?
For those that long wistfully for a simpler time, Hatchi might be the answer. Hatchi is a virtual pet for the jet set. It’s the baby without the crying, and parenthood without the future college loans. It’s a 90s staple with a 20xx skin. It’s Tamagotchi in your pocket. Well, in your phone. Or tablet.
Hatchi is the natural evolution of the keychain virtual pet craze of the 90s. Somehow, Portable Pixels Limited, the game’s developer, was able to pack a lot of retro into the 21st century.
The game certainly had the “back-when” looks. Its simulated 8-bit look was well rendered, and it certainly recreated the look of the keychain variety of virtual pet on my mobile devices. At start, I was greeted with an opportunity to name my new family member. Apparently, monsters need love to, and “Captain Marvelous” was gonna get it.
The first thing I learned is that the level of care affected how well my pet thrived. Gameplay mainly consisted of making sure that the pet thingie had its needs met promptly. There were gauges at the top that measured things like hunger, happiness and hygiene. At the bottom, activity buttons existed: feeding, cleaning, play, and more. Now, to buy food, I needed money; to earn money, I had to play with Captain Marvelous. I loved the symbiotic nature of the different branches of the game. Playing with my per gave me an opportunity to feed it, and to boost its activity level as well. I read to my Hatchi to improve it smarts. Logical stuff like this made the game fun.
Also, it was interesting that Hatchi’s can die, and can also be released into the wild. New Hatchis can be “adopted” at particular time to increase the brood.
Hatchi has its socialization powered by Scoreloop, which hints at the ability to share scores and such via Facebook and/or Twitter.
Off the cuff, adding a feature like a Hatchi-rearing contest as a multi-player option could probably fun; giving folks an opportunity to spoil competing pets to get bragging rights would be a cool way to stimulate adoption of the game. There is a free version of the app that tops off at the “teenage” years; be careful, though. You will bond with this little squirt.
Hatchi is a great shout-out to a staple of yester-years, and does well to bring it back in an easily digestable form. It crosses generations, and can be the source of long-term fun.