Gurgi turned us on to this game a few months ago, but I can't seem to find that original thread. Looking at it now, it has all the hallmarks of a Duffy game. In fact, it's hard to imagine that there will ever be an official Duffy game, since it would likely be a retread. KUMA❤TOMO has it all - costumes, photography and scrapbooking, world travel (even fairytale lands), communication and love, seasons and occasions, cooking...all the Duffy hallmarks. There are even some very light adventurous elements. One fantastic surprise that I never expected is that all the individual pieces can be mixed and matched by the player - head, neck, top, bottom, and shoes are all separate! How awesome would it be to have an official Duffy game like this that included digital content of all of the costumes ever made?! I really can't understand why this isn't just branded with Duffy. It really looks like a project that was developed as such, and then something fell through. It doesn't seem like an imitation; it feels like Duffy. However, since Namco-Bandai is a video game partner of Disney Japan and this game isn't officially branded with Duffy, it seems unlikely to me that we'll see something similar with Duffy in the future. I'm a bit disappointed about that, because even the atmosphere of the virtual space and the UI are very much in the spirit of Cape Cod, looking particularly similar to Sweet Duffy 2011~13 and with plenty of Spring Voyage flowers and holiday flair thrown into the mix. Everything about this project screams "DUFFY!" except that it's not an official Duffy project.
They've also produced one of the most interesting game marketing campaigns I've ever seen by having interactive YouTube videos that allow you to experience what the game will actually be like, mimicking pressing buttons on the screen. I was surprised by how little Japanese is actually required to enjoy the experience, once you get the hang of it. Check it out for yourselves HERE. At first blush, it seems the more childish version of Duffy, but the more you interact, the less KUMA❤TOMO seems immature, and more pure-hearted. Even the voice has steadily grown on me, though the bear's enthusiasm with the petting part is still a little...well, you can try it for yourself. Don't forget to click the links when you complete it. The first playthrough gets you a PDF of printable notepaper. The second gets you downloadable wallpapers for your PC. Or vice-versa, depending on your choices, I think.^^
I can't imagine this game will ever see a release outside of Japan and I've fallen in love with the Mint/White 3DS, so I may actually pick this up. It really feels like Duffy in almost every way...except that it isn't. It would be AMAZING if they allow users to custom paint their bears! If it had that feature, it would be a must-have that I wouldn't even consider not buying. There are several colors unlockable, including a secret that hasn't been shown. You can see lots of the look of the game HERE.