From publishers Dabadu and Rogue Games, Hello Kitty and Friends: Happiness Parade launched on the Nintendo Switch on October 26th, 2023. Originally released as a mobile game for iOS and Android, it was exclusively for gamers who had a Netflix subscription. Hello Kitty Happiness Parade is now the second Sanrio title to come to the Switch and currently retails for £17.59.
Have you tried Hello Kitty and Friends: Happiness Parade before? With it being released on the Switch, you can play the game handheld or docked, will you be picking this up for a more comfortable gaming experience?
Hello Kitty and Friends: Happiness Parade is a delightful rhythm game where you go on an exciting journey through the world of Sanrio, spreading happiness and joy to your loyal fans. You tap in sync with the music whilst also dodging obstacles, evil goons, and traps to reach the finish line. You play as Hello Kitty along with two other Sanrio characters that you can unlock in your journey. The first couple of characters you start with at the beginning of the game are My Melody and Pompompurin. As you progress through the map you unlock Kuromi, Bad Badtz-Maru, and many other Sanrio favorites.
Each character comes with their own power, such as My Melody having Healing Butterflies which allows you to convert coins into hearts, or Pompompurin with his Invulnerability. These powers are super important to use during your run, as once a character loses all their health, they cannot be revived. This is one of the aspects that makes this game quite difficult to progress through the entire map. You only have three characters to help you reach the end of the map, so as soon as you lose your last person, your run ends and you have to restart the game. This leads you to lose quite a bit of progress, especially when trying to unlock new characters. There is the ability to save your progress, so you can back out of a run to continue on later.
So Many Levels
As mentioned before, you journey through the map across 23 levels to collect items such as coins, hearts, pies, and confetti bags. There are various challenges to complete as well as character cards to collect. These upgrade your Sanrio pals or are used to unlock new friends. There are 11 characters in total, and you can even change their outfits.
In terms of game modes, there is Normal and Auto Dance. Normal is considered the classic experience where you play the game as intended, challenging yourself to the ultimate rhythm test. Auto Dance is made for those who want to relax but still enjoy the game. Auto Dance allows you to just control the character to avoid obstacles rather than having to worry about trying to match the beat. This is a fantastic way to have your game appeal to quite a variety of ages, as younger audiences may find the original mode too challenging.
It balances out the experience and makes everyone play at their own pace. With that being said, the game could use more difficulty options, as trying to complete a run was really tough. Some audiences may find this hard to complete, and be discouraged from restarting a brand new run, due to losing their progress from the last round. Even just having a chance to revive characters would improve the overall experience.
There is not much difference in gameplay from the mobile versions, however, the Switch version does beef up the music. Hello Kitty and Friends: Happiness Parade comes with over 40 pop songs, with the Switch version having 20 new tracks.
Graphics & Audio
The visual style of Hello Kitty and Friends: Happiness Parade is adorable, charming, and whimsy. It’s a big disco-fest with bright colours, confetti, light shows, and glistening stars galore. It works well with the soundtrack. The music in Hello Kitty and Friends: Happiness Parade is quite varied in the pop genre, with some tunes being pop-rock with blues-inspired sounds and others in the J-Pop category. It’s a nice medley of voices and moods, whilst still remaining upbeat and carefree.
One of the downsides to the audio is you cannot pick a song, only having the option to shuffle the music. Another issue faced is that sometimes the music would desync from the rhythm pattern, but this is easily fixed by the Audio Menu in the pause screen, to realign the cymbal to the sound. A positive thing to note about the graphics is that you can choose to have a Sensory Load Safe option, for those who might be sensitive to flashing lights or with photosensitive epilepsy.
In terms of longevity, there are 5 different endings to Hello Kitty and Friends: Happiness Parade, which was unexpected but an added bonus as it offers quite a bit of replayability. As the game is on the Switch, players have the option to adjust their comfort levels, whether that’s playing handheld, on their sofa with the console docked, or even joining in on the dance parade through motion controls. You can sink quite a few hours into this game, especially when trying to unlock the other endings, as well as trying to hit all the challenges to unlock more character clothes.
Overall, Hello Kitty and Friends: Happiness Parade is a delightful rhythm game that offers seasoned players a new challenge, but it can also cater to those who may need that extra help. The game would do well to include more branches of difficulty to suit more players and give them a more enjoyable, customized experience. The music and visuals are fun, especially the photo shoot mode, and really With the ESRB rating being Everyone, gamers across all ages will enjoy Hello Kitty and Friends: Happiness Parade but it will mostly appeal to younger audiences or people who cherish the Sanrio world. Happiness Parade is not an essential buy but it’s a fun game to pick up that’s reasonably priced, without any micro-transactions, fun characters and challenging premise. Prepare to have Jawberry’s “So Nice to Meet Ya” stuck in your head, it’s a great bop.
If you enjoyed this review, why not check out the review I wrote for Party Animals.
Hello Kitty and Friends: Happiness Parade receives the Thumb Culture Gold Award
Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.