Who says money can’t buy happiness? For one pointy-eared fellow called Tingle, it is all about currency flow as he attempts to haggle, barter and buy his way to paradise.
The DS’ wacko-RPG The Legend of Zelda spinoff Freshly-Picked Tingle’s Rosy Rupeeland has been translated from its Japanese release a year ago (where it sold over 200,000 units in 2006) into English for Europe only.
At a price of around £25 or €45 (that’s about $50-60) Freshly-Picked Tingle’s Rosy Rupeeland is a humorous and quirky colorful adventure with touch-screen controls that can make it fun to pick up and play, or just plain weird if you’ve never encountered Tingle before.
Genre: Action-adventure RPG
Release dates: September 2nd 2006 (JPN), September 14th 2007 (EUR)
The game’s story tells that one day while resting in his house a middle-aged man hears a voice, which leads him to a nearby pool of water. Here Uncle Rupee reveals himself and explains that the pond is a gateway to a paradise called Rupeeland that can only be activated by throwing money into the pool. Uncle Rupee then transforms the player into the mischievous Tingle. Fans of the Legend of Zelda franchise will remember Tingle as a peculiar character from this series who helps Link on his quest but only in return for cold hard cash. Now Zelda fans can finally solve the riddle behind this character and experience Tingle’s story!
Tingle is by no means your typical video game “hero”. For a start he does nothing for free, instead only completing tasks and helping people for a fee. As he progresses through the game Tingle must complete sub-quests, explore dungeons and sell maps he draws for Rupees, which he can then feed to the pool in his garden to make a tower grow and give him access to new areas. Rupees collected are shown at the top of the screen and decrease when Tingle is hurt or has to buy something.
Using the Nintendo DS touch-screen and stylus, Freshly-Picked Tingle’s Rosy Rupeeland is fun and intuitive to play, whatever your gaming experience. This alternative hero is moved around the screen using either the d-pad or YXAB buttons so both right and left-handed stylus control can be used, while everything else in-game is controlled via the touch screen. Players can interact with characters and items that they encounter by simply tapping them with their stylus. The game’s payment screen is equally intuitive to use with an on-screen numeric keyboard that players must simply tap.
Watch the Tingle’s Rosy Rupeeland start trailer.
As many a stock-trader will confirm, you must speculate to accumulate and in this game it is no different. On his weird and wonderful journeys Tingle will encounter other characters with items or information he requires, but this all comes at a price. Players must use their best skills to haggle to get the ultimate deal they can on the items they need. Be careful though, if you are too greedy you may end up getting less than you bargained for and could end up losing out in the long run.
Tingle may be dressed like a fairy but unfortunately he has nearly no powers or abilities except a love of collecting money, meaning that hired muscle is needed to help him survive. Parting with his precious funds allows Tingle to hire bodyguards to keep him out of danger as well as aid him with different abilities such as lock-picking and access to impassable areas.
Aside from adventuring, Tingle can use his map-making skills to earn himself a supplemental income. When exploring an area players will be able to view the area on their map screen. When they come across points of interest not marked on the chart, they can circle the exact spot using the Nintendo DS stylus and then sell their updated maps in town for a hefty sum.
The main characters are:
* Tingle — Initially called by his “real” name (a name has to be chosen for him at the start of the game), he is a 35-year-old man who is tricked into helping Uncle Rupee reach Rupeeland. By agreeing to help, he is transformed into a green-clothed hero whose Rupees are his lifeline.
* Pinkle — Tingle’s assistant. She is a Fairy who was captured by Uncle Rupee and forced to aid Tingle in his quest. During the game, she assists Tingle via a Nintendo DS-like machine in his home, and also through the Tingle Tuner when Tingle is out travelling.
* Barkle — Tingle’s pet dog that Tingle meets very early in the game. He will fetch Tingle Rupees if given bones.
* Uncle Rupee — The one who transformed Tingle. Uncle Rupee asks Tingle to bring him Rupees throughout the game. As a reward, he promises to bring Tingle to Rupeeland, a Cockaigne-like paradise. As you progress though the game, it is strongly implied that Uncle Rupee is not to be trusted.
Freshly-Picked Tingle’s Rosy Rupeelandfeatures eleven islands divided into three continents. Each island is themed differently and usually contains its own dungeon or has a central puzzle the player must complete.
* The First Continent consists out of five relatively small islands. Of these islands, Hometown Prairie is the starting point and remains an important place throughout the game. Its most important features are the Tower, Tingle’s house and Port Town. The other islands are Sunshine Seashore, Cape Treasure, Lon Lon Meadow (a reference to Lon Lon Ranch) and Deku Forest.
* The Second Continent consists out of three medium islands: Steamy Marsh, Gooey Swamp and Icy Plain
* The Third Continent consists out of three big “islands” (they are in fact, connected to each other). Mount Desma (implied to be Death Mountain) is the most prominent part of the Third Continent. Its top is inhabited by the Yamatami Tribe. The other two islands are Fairy Garden and Auros Ruins.
See some Tingle’s Rosy Rupeeland gameplay.
As a conclusion let’s rate Freshly-Picked Tingle’s Rosy Rupeeland on its fun-basis.
FUN FACTOR – 6.5
“Kooloo Limpha!” says Tingle as he lives his completely crazy life in an offbeat humor-filled world. Sadly this world is also devoid of fleshed-out battle mechanics, has an annoying bartering system, and is filled with dull dungeons. This all to the point where the oddball humor dialogs and stylish but simple looks can’t save Tingle’s RPG adventure from being something less than fun. If you’re reading this you (like me) probably like Tingle, but while I applaud the game for trying to do something fresh, it ends up being a linear badly-executed RPG. Don’t expect a Zelda game or you’ll be heavily disappointed like me. Still, its cast of bizarre characters and their comedy will raise it to a cult-classic, but only for those who already love it before playing.
Graphics – 7.5
The imagination in this game is running wild, a very unique style that seems to want to compliment the funny/offbeat dialogs. Outside of the innocent and greedy Tingle, there are very very Japanese characters that display the game’s sexual innuendos like: scantily clad assistants and curious builders that enjoy thrusting their pelvis towards you?!
Audio – 7.0
The music is something else, often fun to hear, but will at other times make you feel dirty for even listening to it (women groaning at the beat of the music; no I’m not making that up, it’s bizarro with a big fat joking wink). Overall it’s all very happy happy joy joy and there are also some remixes of Zelda music. The sound effects are basic, but help show how super happy Tingle’s world is.
Ingenuity – 6.0
The game controls a bit like a point-and-click adventure when you’re using the stylus to look around and investigate objects in a field or room, and Tingle himself is controlled with the directional pad. You’ll also be asked to draw maps with your stylus to earn money. Since you can buy protection in the form of bodyguards, you won’t need to do any battling, seems like fun when you hear it, but it becomes kind of dull. This is one of the things that makes the game move from annoying tough to easy and back as you progress through the game depending on what tasks you’re doing (chores, fight, etc.) to rinse and repeat them.
Replay Value – 6.5
Save often (before dungeons), because when you die, you really die. Buy pots, as cooking recipes can be a fun diversion. Replay value is cut short because of the many chores you have to do to earn money, you’ll have to learn to barter by trial & error or risk spending ages doing jobs underpaid (my advice is save before you barter and test it out a few times). Regardless, you’ll likely grow tired of doing chores well before you fill up the pond. The dialog is often funny if you enjoy dry humor, that much should be clear by now, and that’s all it might take to get you to explore Tingle’s world.