Japanese box art
Kumatanchi (くまたんち Kuma-tan Zoo?) is a life simulation video game for the Nintendo DS co-developed by Vanillaware and dōjin game studio Ashinaga Oji-san and published by Dimple Entertainment. Released in Japan in September 2008, the game features animals made to resemble young girls, designed by Vanillaware character artist Shigatake, creator of the Japanese mascot character Habanero-tan.
Kumatanchi is a life-simulation adventure game featuring animals depicted as young girls in moe anthropomorphic style living in a city zoo. Players assume the role of a caretaker who must look after Kuma-tan, a bear girl, by playing mini-games to increase certain parameters such as her mood, hunger, and popularity. The game uses a real-time clock which counts down a period of two weeks, during which time the player must interact with Kuma-tan as much as possible in order to raise her standing with the rest of the zoo in time for its major renovation. During this period, the player may take pictures, help her perform in the "Kuma-tan Show", arrange furniture in her house, take art lessons, and interact with other animals. Bonuses such as art work are awarded based on the player's performance.
Kuma-tan's mood and hunger levels are divided into five stages each, and can be maintained by feeding and interacting with her regularly. While players can give positive reinforcement to her with a nade-nade (なでなで pat-pat?), too much can make her become cocky, and may be balanced with a dekopin (とデコピン forehead flick?). Players may also interact with other animals in the zoo, allowing Kuma-tan's mood to become better by taking part in conversations and activities, as well as purchase food from the zoo's shop.
Kumatanchi was first revealed in a June 2008 issue of Weekly Famitsu magazine after Vanillaware had previously announced that they were working on an undisclosed project for the Nintendo DS. The game's development was a collaboration between the company and dōjin game studio Ashinaga Oji-san (アシナガおじさん Long-Legged Uncle?, another name for daddy longlegs), which includes Vanillaware character artist Shigatake as one of its members. Vanillaware modeled the game on Ashinaga Oji-san's own life simulation video game Hanbanero-tan House (ハバネロたんハウス?), based on the character Habanero-tan, whom Shigatake had created as an unofficial Japanese mascot for Bōkun Habanero pepper-flavored snack foods.
The game's music was composed by Kimihiro Abe and Mitsuhiro Kaneda, two members of Basiscape, the sound company responsible for both of Vanillaware's earlier works, Odin Sphere and GrimGrimoire. An official soundtrack was released in December 2009 by Basiscape Records, and features the opening theme Oideyo Kumatanchi (おいでよ くまたんち Come to Kuma-tan's Zoo?) and ending theme Happy Sugar Days (ハッピーシュガーデイズ Hapī Shugā Daizu?), both performed by Ryouki Ruou. A radio drama album featuring voice actors from the game titled Kuma Dora: Kumatanchi Drama CD: Kuma-tan no Sagashimono was originally sold to attendees of the Comic Market 75 comic book fair, and later by Dimple Entertainment on their website in December 2008.
Kumatanchi received a 24 out of 40 possible score from Japanese Weekly Famitsu magazine, with individual scores of 4, 7, 7, and 6. The game sold 3,500 copies in its debut week, becoming the 4th highest-selling Nintendo DS game during that period. Joystiq commented on the game's visual style, which they felt was a departure from previous Vanillaware titles, stating that "That's not to say Kumatanchi looks bad (which, in turn, is not to say it looks good), but it's a lot more cutesy than what we were expecting."
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