He also assures you that he is an important person, and then explains the existence of the wonderful place known as Rupeeland. It’s a place you’ve always dreamed of! A true paradise on earth!
Then, he asks if you would like to go to this magical land. Unfortunately for your lazy self, no is not an available option. He bestows your Rupee lifeforce upon you and dubs you Tingle! Your actual name? You won’t need it any longer. You’re Tingle now.
He then gives you what I assume is his last 100 rupees and explains that they’ll play an important factor in your life. You see, they’re the only way to get to Rupeeland (and how to avoid death, but that doesn’t seem important enough to mention at the time). He also begs you to throw your lifeforce into the pool. Or, at least a single Rupee of it anyways.
As you leave the pool, your premium Tingle phone goes off, and a very overly exaggerated femme Tingle (Is that a race?) named Pinkle appears. She is here to help you on your quest to Rupeeland! She then begs you to save your game and explains that she will help you save your progress at home via the computer. She will also periodically remind Tingle to give his rupees to the Rupee Grandpa and also gives information about the areas you’re in.
Gameplay is simple. You move with the D pad or the face buttons. The touchscreen is how you select items and fight monsters. It’s a pretty basic system that seemed maybe too simple at first.
But, that really is all there is to it. You just go out and collect as many Rupees as you possibly can so you can build the tower to Rupeeland. The hard part? Tingle is a little weakling who loses Rupees with every fight. For every one that you gain from a creature, you lose anywhere from five to thirty with every loss. To help with this, you can hire bodyguards at the local pub. However, they’ll cost you an arm and a leg.
So how do you earn Rupees? Well you have a few ways! In town (which costs to enter), you’ll find several shops that will let you sell certain goods. As the game progresses and you open more lands, more shops become available. People charge you to talk to them, though, so proceed with caution.
That’s another thing: Be sure to enter the correct amount the first time you try to talk to someone, because if you pay 100 rupees but they require 150 for the dialogue, then you’re going to spend 250. This was a hard lesson for me, especially on my first playthrough as I tried to pay a few rupees at a time to try to avoid overpaying.
I know this will sound like a gaming No No to many, but I do suggest finding a guide that lists the Rupee amounts so you aren’t wasting time trying to get the right amounts every time. I fumbled through the first section of the game before giving up for a good two months. But, when I came back, I decided to find a guide to hopefully avoid some of my frustrations with the guessing game-like speech filters.
Within thirty minutes of my guided playthrough, I’d conquered over two times as much of the game as on my original file. Which, again, is why I do recommend a guide if you get easily frustrated with games with this kind of mechanic.
To reach the titular Rupeeland, you throw gems into a lake that becomes a tower. With each height jump, two things happen. One, the Rupee Grandpa shows up looking a little more well off to tell you that you haven’t donated quite enough just yet. And two, you open up new sections. Each section is an island connected to another and you’ll find new missions and new characters in each of them.
In the beginning, I assumed the game was just five levels, as there were five islands. But, I soon discovered that was wrong after I beat the fifth island and donated more Rupees to the lake, as it opened up a brand new continent with brand new islands to explore and conquer.
However, none of them were the elusive Rupeeland.
I wanted this game to be a joke. I really wanted it to be one of those really dumb spin-off games that’s not worth giving any time. I wanted to play it once for about an hour, laugh at it, then be done with it. After all, I’d already seen many others claim this dedicated Tingle title to be such a game. Only, all I found was a simple role-playing game that offered character growth, challenge, and a strange appreciation for a character who I previously have called my sleep paralysis demon.
After all this, I saw an article that was done for April Fool’s Day for another site. It detailed that Nintendo was releasing a bundle of all three Tingle games for the Nintendo Switch (as actually there were a second and third Tingle game that only saw release in Japan). I got very excited! Genuinely, I had been surprised by how great TRRL was with my full playthrough. Only, as stated, the article was a joke, which ultimately put my need to express why this frustrated me into words.
This game is a hidden gem, pardon the pun. It’s a game that offers hours of some of the better aspects of the RPG genre. It takes a character that is rather hated and gives him a bit of redemption. I’d go so far as to call it the perfect game for casual and hardcore fans of the Zelda series – and it doesn’t even feature Zelda or Link!
Do I think Tingle’s Rosy Rupeeland would transfer well to the Switch? Absolutely. The gameplay was more than simple, the only needed change being perhaps changing from a touch screen control scheme to using either the A button or the L or R shoulder buttons. I could even see it being updated for co-op exploration. There’s a lot of potential here! But, it’ll likely never happen. It’s a shame so many gamers blew off TRRL because its titular character had previously been considered nothing more than a bad joke.