Disney Tsum Tsum Festival
ディズニー ツムツム フェスティバル
Disney / Bandai Namco
The Tsum Tsums have come to play! Enjoy 10 different minigames with or against your friends and family, or take on the mobile puzzle game locally or online. Either way, try to collect all the Disney characters!
First of all, Japan got a really cute bundle with this game. I love the Joy-Cons!
Anyway, by now, there’s a good chance you’ve either seen Tsum Tsum merchandise or played the mobile game. Tsum Tsums are Disney characters as cute and stackable plush toys. Konami and LINE created a puzzle game with this style in Japan, and then Disney and other companies released merchandise and animated shorts based upon the franchise across the world. The mobile game is available for Android and iOS devices. The basic gameplay follows the popular puzzler style mechanics of connecting three or more identical characters to remove them from the screen and shuffle the stage. The longer your chain, the higher your score, but you can also unleash special abilities to help assist you. Earn items to help power up your favorite Tsum Tsum or unlock new ones.
Disney Tsum Tsum Festival includes this game, but it is not solely the LINE-made game for Switch. More on that in a minute. The puzzle game can be played on Switch or Switch Lite. That may seem pretty standard, but Switches cannot play it in docked mode. Plus, either version must have the console in vertical orientation, just as if you were playing on a phone or tablet.
Of course, new characters, stages, and events are going to be added to the app for likely years to come, and this one will maybe get some more characters. In addition, phones and tablets are likely lighter, bigger, and more attached to your person versus your Switch, especially since the Switch is strongly geared toward horizontal play. Personally, I wish more companies would just release console versions of their apps without all the gacha-ness, but it comes with some severe trade-offs.
As I mentioned, Disney Tsum Tsum Festival is more than just a puzzle game. It’s a minigame collection. A lot of people will compare it to Mario Party (Super Mario Party in particular), but it reminds me more of Pokémon Stadium since the multiplayer quick games is a mode of the game, not the primary focus.
Before I go on, a chunk of potential players will likely nope their way out of this game. If you’re a Switch Lite owner or someone with a Switch who mostly plays in handheld mode… you can’t play most of Disney Tsum Tsum Festival. At least not without coughing up the $50-70. You can access the LINE made game and one of the two modes to obtain new Tsums with coins you earn from playing Disney Tsum Tsum Festival. That’s it. Nine minigames and a half-game, half-get-new-Tsums mode require Joy-Cons. So even if you have a Pro Controller, Switch Lite players are basically out of luck unless you just want the mobile game and the fun of unlocking some Tsum Tsums. Switch owners will need to use the kickstand or a dock for minigame fun.
So the half-game I mentioned before is the Disney Tsum Tsum Festival version of the coin pusher game. This one you play to (hopefully) earn a new Tsum, or you can try your hand at Present Balloons to get a random character. The latter is the only other game (well, “game” since it’s not much of one) besides Tsum Tsum Puzzle you can play with a Switch Lite or in handheld mode. Unlocking new Tsum Tsums is quite expensive. So if you want the full 100 characters, you’re going to be playing for quite a while, as most minigames will earn you hundreds of coins while it costs 10,000 just to get a random one — which is very possibly a duplicate.
Anyway, the nine regular games are:
- Bubble Hockey
- Egg Pack Coaster
- Ice Cream Stacker
- Round ‘n’ Round Run
- Spinner Battle
- Tsum Chase
- Tsum Curling
- Tsum Rhythm
- Tsum Tsum Mania
Curling is the winter sport with an extra randomly-chosen power to keep it interesting. Bubble Hockey is Air Hockey. Ice Cream Stacker is just as its name suggests, and Tsum Rhythm is — surprise! — a rhythm game. Egg Pack Coaster is an odd-sounding name, but it’s just what says: a roller coaster where the “car” is an egg pack, and you have to avoid falling out but still try to do some stunts. Tsum Tsum Mania is a shooter in the vein of laser tag or the first Kingdom Hearts‘ gummi ship mode. Round ‘n’ Round Run is a little obstacle course while Spinner Battle game where you try to knock your opponents out of the arena with a spin. Finally, Tsum Chase is Pac-Man.
As you would expect, you can jump right in and play any of these games or participate in a short tournament. Depending on the game and number of characters, players can team up against the AI or compete against each other. Solo players may want to go for a high score option. There are also various goals you can try to beat.
Where Disney Tsum Tsum Festival excels is that quick playability, that quick, “Oh, I get it!” moment. Ice Cream Stacker is a game where you tilt the controller left and right to catch falling ice cream scoops on a cone. So it’s not just catching the falling items; the angle is important, because future scoops will just fall off if the current ones are lopsided. It’s not a game you have to do much explaining. Plus, most of the games aren’t super quick and end before everyone has figured out the basic strategy instead of being kicked out of the round for a poor start.
Yes, Super Mario Party has some simple and well-loved games, but it also has quite a few not-so-obvious ones. The Switch has become a very popular console, but surprisingly, compared to the similarly-well-received Wii, the Switch has been rather low in the non-Mario easy access party games. The smaller roster in Disney Tsum Tsum Festival is not going to please most heavy gamers, but for families? Smaller children? Casual gamers? It’s going to be more of, “Wait, let me try again!” and not, “Wait, what happened? What was I supposed to do?” Even the special aspects the games have (like the last Tsum Curling attempt having players ride a piece like a spaceship or a kettle) give them an interesting twist without transforming the game. Also, no annoying high-fives.
Plus, let’s face it: more people are going to recognize and be attached to the various Disney and Pixar characters, from the quintessential Mickey and company to Dumbo to the various Princesses to Toy Story and so much more. (No Marvel or Star Wars though.) Obviously, this game isn’t graphically intensive, but it looks good — and adorable, which is key. Other Tsums Tsums cheer as the games are going on, and just the overall kawaii aesthetic is spot on. I mean, a rotund, laying-down version of Mickey leading the group in “The Mickey Mouse Club March” on a stage? Adorable! The cuteness covers up a lot of the game’s natural flaws or lightness because it’s just so charming.
However, it does have some significant flaws.
When this game came out in October 2019, it was $49.99. That’s… way too much for a short minigame collection and a mobile game with some unlocks. Any freemium game player knows it doesn’t take much to spend $50 on in-game items, but most Switch owners would probably rather go with something beefier like Pokemon or Mario Kart for even $10 more. MSRP has dropped $10 since release, which is better but not great. At least it feels like getting most of the major games requires a significant more amount of money. I think $30 would have been a good target price, but I got it for $20, and I think it was worth it for what I wanted: an accessible, lighthearted game.
Which was, of course, only possible because I have Joy-Cons. And, unlike a lot of other Switch games, this one only supports up to four players. The length of the games also seem weird. Curling, for instance, can be three or five rounds, each throwing six stones. It’s almost like playing Wii Bowling two or three times in a row, which may be too much for some. The Egg Coaster also feels really long, especially since it’s a game with significant breaks between when you are supposed to turn/lean. On the other hand, games like Pac-Man and Spinner feels like it ends in no time at all since it’s only 60-90 seconds long. I wish there were options when you are selecting each game that you can choose how long you want to play. I love the Pac-Man inspired game, but I didn’t like getting kicked out after only a minute.
One annoying thing is that you will have to constantly switch orienting the Joy-Cons. You normally hold it horizontal, but then have to hold it vertical for games like Rhythm Tsum. It’s not so much adjusting, but then it’s annoying having to go through the menus when you have to remember if you’re supposed to be hitting the right-side button when it’s horizontal or vertical. The motion controls seemed a little wonky at times, but it could be I haven’t found the sweet spot yet that the game is looking for in games like Rhythm Tsum.
I will add that I never tried playing online, but from comments and reviews, it seems like not many people were able to find each other online. So probably not worth buying Disney Tsum Tsum Festival if you were hoping to test your skills with players around the country or world.
Disney Tsum Tsum Festival‘s price tag and lack of natural Switch Lite compatibility has likely turned away many potential buyers. However, this should not be dismissed as mere shovelware thanks to its accessibility and adorable atmosphere.