Important Importables Review: Tomato Adventure for GBA

September 27, 2009 - 2:00 am No Comments

Hot Japanese Imports Review: Tomato Adventure for GBA

Section: Reviews, Exclusives, Originals, Features, Columns, Japanese Imports, Handhelds, DS, Game-Companies, Developers, Publishers, Genres, 2D, Action, Children’s, Role-Playing

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Tomato Adventure Box トマトアドベンチャー

Title: Tomato Adventure
Price: Originally $48.90. It’s now out of print, but has people selling it for as low as ?420.
System(s): GBA
Release Date: January 25, 2002
Publisher (Developer): Nintendo (AlphaDream)
ESRB Rating: N/A
Pros: The Gimmick system offers an interesting way to attack and keep the game interesting. Its bright and colorful with really cute characters. (Even the enemies are adorable.) It’s a good RPG for people just starting to learn Japanese, since it’s all pretty much in hirigana and katakana.
Cons: The story portion may be a bit too simple and unappealing for older players. The music is only so-so.
Overall Score: 8/10

A few years ago, Play-Asia had a massive sale on Game Boy Advance games. I decided to use it as an opportunity to pick up the first entry in the Starfy series, Densetsu no Stafi. While shopping, another game also caught my eye. It was bright and colorful RPG designed with children in mind, so I knew it wouldn’t be too taxing when it came to kanji. Plus, it was $4.90. I bought it on a whim. Little did I know how much I would enjoy Tomato Adventure, that impulse purchase.

Tomato Adventure トマトアドベンチャー

The story of a tomato-hating boy that saved his girlfriend and the world.

DeMille hates tomatoes. In most places, this is no big deal, but when you live in a land called the Ketchup Kingdom, it kind of makes you a pariah. DeMille and all the other tomato haters have been banished to a single village called Kobora. The only way to escape is to embrace tomatoes and a tomato-loving lifestyle. DeMille isn’t all that unhappy there though. He has friends and a girlfriend named Pasaran.

King Abira, ruler of the Ketchup Kingdom, kidnaps Pasaran and wants to drain her power of heart so he can turn the entire Ketchup Kingdom and all of its residents into a massive toyland filled with toys. DeMille immediately heads to the Gimmick Palace to rescue her, but learns he can’t even get in unless he beats King Abira’s six super kid minions to get toy parts needed to enter the palace and not only rescue Pasaran, but also save the entire Ketchup Kingdom. DeMille won’t be alone though – he’ll find three friends on his adventure, Aresa, Sofubi and Rereku.

Tomato Adventure Box トマトアドベンチャー

Created for kids, but appropriate for all ages.

Tomato Adventure is reminiscent of Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga in terms of presentation. You have characters exploring a big, bright fantasy kingdom. The battles let you use only two character at once. When you attack you use Gimmicks, which require you to push buttons again and perform little mini-games to perform special attacks.

You can also adjust the difficulty of Tomato Adventure by tweaking the Gimmick options. If you want very little challenge, you can make the Gimmicks easy to execute. If you want more of a challenge, you just make them more difficult.

It’s also a great game for people who are just learning Japanese. There’s very little kanji in the game. Plus, it contains all the RPG staples. So as long as you’re familiar with RPG structure, katakana and hirigana, you’ll have no problem playing the game. In time, you’ll even learn to recognize different key words, actions, menu titles and items.

The story is a bit fluffy. It’s cute and endearing, but something most RPG players have seen before. I think that, for most players, the younger you are, the more you’ll get out of the Tomato Adventure storyline. That isn’t to say that it’s bad. It just possesses a lot of common themes and story elements that aren’t going to leave veterans shocked.

Tomato Adventure Box トマトアドベンチャー

A great RPG for beginners or people just learning Japanese.

While Tomato Adventure isn’t going to have the most sophisticated story, it is incredibly adorable and has a neat little system for attacking opponents. The language used is simple to understand, so young children and those just starting to learn Japanese could use this to practice their new language skills. Its also interesting to play it to see how an RPG for children handles issues like segregation, racism, discrimination and tyranny.

COMING NEXT WEEK: Hot Japanese Imports reviews the soundtrack for Subarashiki Kono Sekai ~It’s a Wonderful World~, aka The World Ends with You.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Last week Hot Japanese Imports talked about the Tokyo Game Show.

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Full Story » | Written by Jenni Lada for Gamertell. | Comment on this Article »

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