- Developer: B.B. Studio, Hyde
- Publisher: BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment
- Release Date: 11/8/19
- Price: £44.99 / $49.99
- Review code provided by BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment
A familiar brand of fun
What do you get when you mix ever-addicting party minigames with sickeningly cute Disney collectibles? The answer, it seems, is Disney TSUM TSUM Festival – a simple Switch game that’s nothing if not enjoyable and approachable to all ages.
Someday my Tsum will come
In this game, the only goal is to beat minigames and collect over 100 cute, plush versions of your favorite animated icons. Yes, it is exactly as adorable as it sounds.
You start out with a handful of Tsums, like Mickey and Minnie, but as you win games, you’ll earn many of your favorite heroes, villains, and companions – all of whom are expressive, bouncy, and ready to play! (Note: even in Tsum style, Donald Duck does not wear pants. Truly amazing.) You will earn new characters by earning coins, and spending them on Present Balloons, which give you new Tsums.
There is a good breadth of character options for older players who still love the classic films, or for young children who may only recognize the newer ones. As movies come out in theaters, you may be surprised with some freebies. For example, bonus Anna and Elsa Tsums were released when Frozen II premiered. It’s a great way to keep the game fresh as Disney continues to churn out new content.
Heigh-ho, heigh-ho, it’s off to play we go!
Choose your favorite character, and you’ll be transported to the main lobby: a circular space lined with game cabinets, and filled with all of the bouncing Tsum Tsums you’ve collected so far. All the while, confetti is falling and a high-octane electronic music is blasting. Honestly, this is total real-life room goals for an overgrown Disney dork like me.
There are 10 different minigames to choose from – a relatively short list, considering there is no structured play option besides the “Festival Tour” that allows you to compete in a series of games back-to-back. Plus, as you’ll notice here in a moment, many options are just direct derivatives of arcade classics. The good news is that those games naturally stand the test of time, and so each has the potential to become a kid’s singular go-to when they log on.
Let’s get down to business!
Here’s a rundown of the 10 minigames:
- Tsum Tsum Mania: Galaga, except you are shooting… mini-Tsums of yourself? Oh, dear God, there they go, hurtling into space!
On a serious note, this game does suffer from sluggish motion controls, but accounts for that by allowing you to re-center your crosshairs with any button.
- Tsum Rhythm: DDR! Pick from one of six songs, and then shake your controller up, down, and all around while the Tsums boogie on down. Despite the aforementioned sluggish motion controls, this game is very forgiving.
- Spinner Battle: In this king-of-the-hill game, you are working to knock other players off the field with your spinning top – and avoid getting knocked off yourself – while earning points in the form of mini Tsums or gems.
- Bubble Hockey: Air hockey – with some twists! It’s a relief that this game, as well as “Spinner Battle,” uses the joystick to move around instead of motion controls.
- Round ‘n’ Round Run: This classic obstacle course has you compete to gather the most jewels, while also avoiding projectiles and keeping up with the ever-moving camera, a’la old-school Mario.
- Ice Cream Stacker: How high can you stack your ice cream cone before it falls to the floor? This game will test your balance… and, at times, your patience, as you might struggle to master the motion controls.
- Egg Pack Coaster: It just so happens, Tsum Tsums are the perfect shape to ride around in an egg carton. Lean left and right to keep this crazy roller coaster on track – but watch out for falling eggs!
- Tsum Curling: A more involved game that involves hurling your Tsum down an ice alley on a curling stone, trying to bump other players off the target at the end, and scoring the good spots for yourself.
- Lost Treasure: This is your typical single-player coin-pusher game. Fling your coin at just the right time to push even more down. Remember, more coins means more Tsums!
- Tsum Tsum Puzzle: Use the touch screen to match up as many big groups of Tsum Tsums as you can in this Candy Crush-style minigame. It’s the only one that requires you to use the Switch in handheld mode, and as such, it’s also exclusively single-player.
Between minigames, players are always reminded to switch their controller format as necessary. It’s a good visual aid that adds to the game’s accessibility for very young kids. When it comes to difficulty, every minigame’s concept is simple enough for any reasonable age and experience level.
Everybody wants to be a Tsum
This minigame system – not to mention, the tiny pool of game options – lacks substance by its nature, but A.) the games themselves make up for it by being incredibly addicting in the right setting, and B.) who cares about substance and story? Now, be quiet and let me focus – I want to collect more Beauty & the Beast Tsums!
Since most games require a detached joycon, multiplayer is a snap – literally! With an extra set of joycons, eight of the games allow you to play with up to four people.
You can choose before starting whether you want to play competitively, or cooperatively. It’s a great option for, say, siblings with big skill gaps, because in co-op there are no sore losers – everybody wins! That, combined with the aforementioned accessibility and Disney branding, make this the perfect game to whip out in any situation involving children – whether you’re going to a family function, babysitting, or just looking to pass the time together at home.
In my own little corner, with my own little Tsum
Solo players can get plenty of enjoyment out of Disney TSUM TSUM FESTIVAL, too. The eight multiplayer games can be enjoyed alone or with up to three computers.
The big downside is that all of those games – plus “Lost Treasure” – require the single-joycon format, and cannot be enjoyed in handheld mode. That’s fine for a living room setting, but becomes a bummer if your child is trying to enjoy this game alone in bed or on-the-go, when they can’t mount or dock their Switch. That leaves one single game option.
“Tsum Tsum Puzzle” is nothing to sneeze at, though, being so addictive and easy, that it’s actually the game featured in the Disney Tsum Tsum phone app. (Welcome to your new train game, folks.)
In any game, you can also choose to play in “Challenge” mode to rank your score against others from around the world. As a solo player, this is the kind of motivation that makes you want to keep grinding the games over and over again.
Tsum’s got a friend in me
It’s always a treat when modern video games encourage family and friends to gather around a console in-person for some good, old-fashioned competition or co-op. Disney TSUM TSUM FESTIVAL checks that box, while also providing plenty of options to keep a solo player occupied for a few hours at a time. All told, the game presents a safe choice for any kid, parent, aunt, uncle, Tweedledee or Tweedledum’s switch library.
- Minigames are addicting and simple
- Great for multiplayer or single-player
- Endless replayability
- Few minigame options
- No handheld option for most games
- Motion controls can be slow
This family-friendly game provides the thrill of collection, along with multiplayer and endless replayability, making it a perfect pass-time for young Disney fans.