Let’s talk about Tingle. You know, the creepy little green guy from the Zelda series who used to haunt my dreams. I used to think that his existence was nothing more than a cruel joke. But then, I found out that Tingle had had gotten his own game, and I was a brave enough soul to try it out. That forever changed how I viewed this odd character.
A while back, I received an R4 card for my Nintendo DS. It was a huge lifesaver when it came to trying different titles. If you don’t know what that is, it’s basically a DS cart that lets you play games downloaded onto an SD card. It’s what I like to think of as the DS equivalent of a PSP memory card filled with totally legal ISOs and emulators. With this card came the ability to download ROMs of games I was considering buying, but wasn’t sure if I agreed with their price points.
I’m looking at you, Pokémon Platinum Version.
In addition, I’m also a pretty big Zelda fanboy and I started to look into The Legend of Zelda games for the DS. Unfortunately, there aren’t any decent main games for the system, so I started to look around for spinoffs that could fill up the Majora’s Mask sized hole in my gamer’s heart. That’s when I stumbled onto Freshly-Picked Tingle’s Rosy Rupee Land.
Everybody knows that Tingle is basically that thing you see at the end of your bed after one too many scary movies. But, as I was looking for new games to try, and wanted some Zelda in my life, I went ahead and got a hold of a totally legit copy.
Now, I love RPGs. My first real gaming experiences were The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess for the Wii and Final Fantasy IV and XII. Not to forget Pokémon, either, but that’s kind of a weak RPG.
So I got the game and promptly forgot its existence, as I also had Tetris DS. Let’s be honest, who hasn’t been lost in the Tetris-scape once or twice. I continued to forget its existence until one night some months later. I was craving some good old fashioned RPG vibes and couldn’t find any satisfying games in my physical collection. Eventually, I scrolled the long list of games on the R4 and clicked the little Tingle logo, fully convinced the game would be a flop.
I loaded the game up, which took long enough for me to question why I hadn’t just replayed Pokémon Omega Ruby again. Finally, I was able to hit the New Game option, and was immediately put off by the way the game addressed the player. If you haven’t played, the opening cutscene is basically the main character being called a “lazy thirty year old man with no life”. Why this hit a sore spot, I’m not sure, but maybe it was because I was a lazy twenty-something playing a video game at 3AM. They definitely knew their player base.
I should mention, when you start the game, you aren’t actually Tingle. The game won’t even let you name your character Tingle if you try. Believe me, I tried multiple variants of his name. It didn’t work. You don’t become Tingle himself until you go through some magical shenanigans in-game. You’re only allowed to be Tingle when the game says you are.
The game begins with a voice calling to you. It whispers “The daily grind has got you down,” which is a definite mood during quarantine. “You can escape,” It beckons in your mind. “Go West!” This definitely sounds like the start of every book I read in high school when I should have been doing math. I should probably be a little concerned.
You exit your house and try to go to the East or North. But, that causes the voice to rather angrily explain that you’re going in the wrong direction. You go west and find a glowing pool which the voice cajoles you to touch. It seems a bit like the fae trying to steal your soul.
Thus, you touch the surface via the touch screen and a man, who introduces himself as Uncle Rupee, shows himself. Personally, I prefer calling him the Rupee Grandpa as he reminds me of my own grandfather. He’s also wearing a rather unappealing costume of just white shorts. After his grand entrance, he explains “I am a rupee master”
“Rupees,” he continues, “Are money.”