"Nintendo of America plays it safe. Nintendo of Europe takes a gamble. Nintendo of Europe wins!"

It's been over a year since Tingle's Rosy Rupeeland was released in Japan. Since then lots of people have wondered if the game would ever see a release in other regions. At the beginning of 2007, a Nintendo magazine reported that they had played part of the game in English, but Nintendo denied that this was true. However, during E3, it was finally officially announced for Europe - America didn't take the risk and is not releasing it, meaning us Europeans actually finally have something to brag about! Now that it's finally out in English, was it worth the wait?

In the game you play as the green-clothed wannabe-fairy from more recent Legend of Zelda games. At the very beginning of the game, we find out Tingle is not actually called Tingle. After hearing a voice while doing nothing, he finds a pool in a grove west of his house. A strange old man with a Rupee for a head appears and offers him the chance of a lifetime - If he collects tons of Rupees and throws them into the pool, he will be able to grow an enormous tower into the sky to reach "Rupeeland" - A paradise up high, where you don't work, eat whatever you want, and are surrounded by women. To escape his dull life, "Tingle" agrees to this, and is transformed into the green-clothed character we all know and love, with his name really becoming Tingle. Rupees also become Tingle's life force - If he runs out of them, he dies.

The game plays very different from Zelda games. There is not as much action as them, as Tingle's very weak. The only goal of the game is to get Rupees. To do this, Tingle must hire bodyguards, draw maps and sell them, sell items and do tasks for people. Pretty much every single thing in the game operates via Rupees - Characters won't even talk without you giving them Rupees. For example, if you ask information about something and give 100 Rupees, they might say something about it, dropping a small but useless hint. But if you give them 500, they'll say everything they have to say on the matter. Conversations you have had are all stored in a menu on the pause screen, so you don't have to pay again. Everything you offer is lost - There are a select few characters who keep the money so you can add more later, and some who give the money back if it's not enough (With some payment in advance to do this...), but for the most part, everything you pay is lost.

The opposite is also true, somewhat - For doing tasks for people, Tingle will be rewarded with Rupees. In this case, he must request an amount to receive. Request too much and you won't get anything. Request little and the character will be happy to give you money, but you won't make much out of it. So the best thing to do is guess somewhere in the middle. If you mess up and ask too much, you will usually get a second, third, or even fourth chance, but if you mess up too much, you will not receive anything. So there's an important lesson when receiving money - Don't be greedy. There are also some characters that only give you one chance to request money, so you'll have to guess really good.

As Tingle's weak, he can not easily fight to get more money. To this end, he must hire bodyguards. These will do the fighting for him. Each of the game's three continents has it's own set of bodyguards, the later continents having stronger ones. Each "set" of bodyguards consists of 9 of them, all slightly different. There's 3 "small" ones (Which can crawl through small holes in dungeons), 3 "medium" ones (Which can picklock doors in dungeons - There are no keys) and 3 "big" ones (Which can lift up rocks in dungeons - Bombs won't work on these). All 3 types also have different battle stats. These 3 types are all further divided into three different types - One of them will not automatically defend or attack, one will attack anything in sight, and one will only attack to defend Tingle. Bodyguards can be found in special "Bodyguard Salons" - There is one on each island except the first.

There is also a small amount of special bodyguards - These can not be found in Salons, and require secret sidequests to obtain. While these do ask high amounts of money to be hired, they have near maxed out stats and can use special attacks in battle which make it a lot easier. However, these also have downsides - While these are following you you cannot enter certain places they dislike.

When a bodyguard faints, they will lie on the floor. You can then "rehire" them and they'll spring right back up for more fighting. However, as this can get costly, you can also collect ingredients to make medicine to heal them before they faint. The special bodyguards, however, will not faint - If they lose all life they leave you and can never be rehired again. If you want to get rid of a special bodyguard, the best way is to just fire them so you can rehire them later - They will appear in a random location. Fainted bodyguards will always stay in the same position, even if you leave the area entirely. They will disappear when you hire another bodyguard, however.

It's not just fighting that gets you money though. You will also be able to find ingredients (Either lying around or by fighting) which you can mix into potions, soup, medicine and other things to sell (Only medicine and a few others can be used by yourself, so most have no use but to be sold). You can either cook with recipes or cook freely with no idea what you'll make - However, as there are so much different ingredients and not so much different things to create, more often than not this will end up wrongly, resulting in a useless left-over broth. To make cooking easier, you can find recipes in various places - Some are sold by people, others are found in treasure chests or other places. These recipes will have a list of ingredients so that you always know what you need (If you cook freely and correctly make something, you will not gain the recipe - Also, cooking freely, you can only make one item at a time. With a recipe you can make multiple simultaneously.)

You can also create maps to gain money. When you reach a new island, you must locate a kid who's found a map, which he will sell to you. Then you can proceed to mark special landmarks in the area. Each mapped landmark you show to the map shop owner in town will get you a nice sum of money. If you map every landmark in one area, you will get an ever bigger sum. You can then buy the map back for more than you sold it for - You cannot make another map yourself, so you will be left mapless in the particular area you sold the map of until you buy it back (For a higher price - Think of it as loan).

By far the biggest source of money, however, is simply progressing through the game. Clearing dungeons will get you huge amounts of Rupees compared to what can be earned outside. On top of the treasure gotten at the end, there are also pots and chests scattered around in the dungeons which hold their own Rupees and items. Each dungeon, of course, also has it's own boss. As Tingle is weak, he will (Usually) not fight it directly, but instead use bombs and other things to fight. These bosses are all very fun to fight and have some unique strategies to beat. The dungeons are usually not very long or complex, but they offer a nice distraction from other things (And you'll have to do them eventually anyway).

Finally there are some other things you can do to get Rupees. There's a small amount of minigames where you can gamble those you have to get more, you can go digging with a Shovel (Including digging in graveyards!) and you can find them in select other locations as well.

As you progress through the game, the amount of Rupees for everything increases - You'll find new items worth more, information will cost more, your rewards will increase and bodyguards will ask higher prices. While you start the game by getting small sums between 10 and 100, by the end of the game you'll get and spend tens of thousands of them at once. The overall difficulty of getting Rupees never really increases because of these price increases.

While the game is a Zelda spin-off, there is surprisingly little Zelda things in it. It obviously stars Tingle, a small amount of Zelda creatures appears (Though more than three quarters of them are new) and some areas are named after Zelda locations, but besides that, there isn't much. There are a few remixes of Zelda music scattered around, and the Zelda "get item" and "secret" jingles, but that's about it, really. There are a few references to other Nintendo games too, most of them very clever and funny.

Tingle's Rosy Rupeeland has a unique charm that sets it apart from the Zelda games. It's more of an RPG than an Adventure game, and it definitely works in it's favour. If you somehow hated Tingle before this game (He honestly gets way too much of it for way too little), then this game will completely change your opinion and will make you love the guy. And on top of that, the developers of the game have hinted at sequels in an interview! Zelda fans should get this game for a refreshing breath of air. If you don't like Zelda games, this game is completely different and worth checking out. Don't miss out on it, even if you have to import!

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 09/17/07

Game Release: Freshly-Picked: Tingle's Rosy Rupeeland (EU, 09/14/07)

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