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Disney Tsum Tsum Festival

Platform(s): Nintendo Switch
Genre: Rhythm
Publisher: Bandai Namco Games
Release Date: Nov. 8, 2019


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Switch Review - 'Disney Tsum Tsum Festival'

by Cody Medellin on Jan. 23, 2020 @ 12:00 a.m. PST

Disney Tsum Tsum Festival is the first console game featuring Disney Tsum Tsums, enabling fans from all over the world to collect and play with some of their favorite Disney and Pixar characters as adorable Tsum Tsums!

If you're unfamiliar with the Tsum Tsum line of stuffed toys, think of them as Beanie Babies with Disney characters, minus the stigma of being a failed collectible investment. The toys were released in 2013 in Japan to coincide with the mobile and arcade games, and their popularity hasn't ceased, with new ones coming out every month and people continuing to snag them at every opportunity. The mobile game has done well for both Line and Disney, with the title still going strong in all regions. With that in mind, it makes sense that Bandai Namco would try its hand at the franchise with a Nintendo Switch release. Unfortunately, Disney Tsum Tsum Festival only serves as a reminder of how good the mobile game is.

It should be noted that the mobile game is actually included in this Switch port, but you can't connect it to your mobile progress. In the game, you have a set amount of time to link at least three or more of the same characters in a line before they disappear, giving you points and making way for more characters to match up. There's an unlimited number of lives in the Switch port, so this is a good way to practice before spending precious lives on your mobile game. There's also a local versus mode, which isn't usually seen in puzzle games of this type.

The puzzle mode can only be played in handheld mode by using the touch-screen (no Joy-Cons) in a portrait orientation. That makes the mode a great analog to the mobile version, but it also robs the game of the big-screen experience. The majority of the game requires the system to either be played on a TV screen or in tabletop mode, so like Super Mario Party, those with Switch Lite consoles need extra equipment to check out this title.

Beyond the port of the mobile title, Disney Tsum Tsum Festival is all about multiplayer minigames, which can vary quite wildly. Bubble Hockey is simply glide hockey, and Curling celebrates one of Canada's favorite sports. Egg Pack Coaster has everyone working together on one track to gain speed during turns, and Ice Cream Stacker has you trying to hold a tall stack of ice cream steady. Round 'n' Round Run is a race where picking up diamonds and other gems becomes more important than crossing the finish line, and Spinner Battle has all of the Tsum Tsums riding tops to knock off one another. Tsum Rhythm is the expected rhythm game, Tsum Tsum Mania is a turret shooting game in space, and Tsum Chase is essentially multiplayer Pac-Man (minus the ability to eat one another).

Just about every minigame has both a versus and cooperative version, which makes it perfect for players of all ages. Each minigame has the opportunity to receive daily and weekly challenges for the chance to earn bonus coins, and some of them also have online leaderboards. Some of the games also have online play, but it might as well be invisible since no one is currently playing online in any of them.

The bad news is that a number of the minigames have a few control issues. For the motion-controlled games, that means that some of the commands aren't being registered. For the Egg Pack Coaster and Tsum Rhythm minigames, only half of your commands are recognized, even if you exaggerate your movements. In Lost Treasure, your aiming cursor constantly gets out of sync, but Tsum Tsum Mania doesn't exhibit this issue. Minigames like Round 'n' Round Run have button commands that don't work, and Bubble Hockey and Tsum Curling lack enough directions to help you understand what's going on.

The result is that a bulk of the games aren't fun. Part of the time is spent fighting the controls, which is the last thing you want in a party game. Compared to other party games, the minigames in Disney Tsum Tsum Festival last for far too long. It also doesn't help that, when playing solo, the AI opponent gets lucky far too often and it feels almost impossible to beat them. Some of the games just aren't designed well. Egg Pack Coaster feels like everything is out of your control, Round 'n' Round Run feels like it moves too slowly, and the lack of songs in Tsum Rhythm makes it feel shallow. Considering how that's a good chunk of the minigames, that's not exactly inspiring.

It is telling that the one minigame most people will spend their time with is the coin pushing one, Lost Treasure. It still features some problems, as your directional cursor needs to be reset often, and frustration can arise as coins and other objects knocked off to the side don't count in the player's favor. The minigame is quite generous when it comes to giving you more coins than you can spend. Given how easy it is to earn Tsum Tsums, you'll more likely to go to the Lost Treasure minigame instead of the present shop if you want to maximize your funds, since you'll spend less than 10,000 coins to get one Tsum Tsum.

If there is one thing the game has going for it, that would be the strong presentation. The graphics are loud and colorful, with a mostly solid frame rate in every game. The highlight is the Tsum Tsums themselves, which are quite numerous in every screen and move around so often that it's hard to not find them adorable. Meanwhile, the music initially sounds generic, but the rest of the soundtrack keeps up with an electronic theme to keep the vibe lively — even when the minigames aren't doing that.

It's very difficult to recommend Disney Tsum Tsum Festival. The best minigame happens to be the one originally made for mobile platforms, and the second best is the coin-pushing game. The other minigames have various control and design issues, and they range in quality from OK to bland, so even the great presentation can't compensate for those shortcomings.

Score: 5.5/10

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