Not many apps can boast that they're a natural fit for a tiny smartwatch screen, but Tamagotchi Classic is one of the exceptions. Japanese video game company Bandai Namco has transposed this classic '90s experience to the Apple Watch, bringing the blobby, amorphous, digital pets that many of us remember from our childhood into the 21st century. But while the hardware might be new, the experience of owning and caring for a Tamagotchi hasn't changed: it's as annoying as ever.
you hatch your tamagotchi, feed it, and then one day it dies from neglect
For readers who haven't heard of Tamagotchi before, these digital pets first launched in Japan in 1996 as plastic eggs with tiny screens and buttons. You turned your Tamagotchi on and were greeted by an egg that hatched into a strangely unidentifiable animal that evolved over time. (Is it a bear? A duck? A platypus? Who knows.) You looked after your Tamagotchi by feeding it, playing with it, and cleaning up its mess and then sooner or later it died — either from old age or (more likely) neglect. Those were simpler times.
Read next: Read our Apple Watch review.
Tamagotchi Classic on the Apple Watch.
The Apple Watch doesn’t quite provide the same experience as the low-tech Japanese gadget. Third-party apps remain limited on the Watch, and it’s clear that Bandai Namco ran into some obvious walls. There’s no animation, for example, so you don’t get any feedback when you feed or discipline your pet. You also can’t "play" with it, for some reason, meaning it’s harder to fill the emoji-rendered "Happy" meter. (Although you can complete this task using your phone.) And if you thought you’d already succumbed to notification overload on the Apple Watch, just wait until you’re being nagged every few minutes to clean up the excrement of a pixelated blob. At least that part of the experience is authentic.