The holy matrimony between Tamagotchi and fitness trackers has arrived. Here are my first impressions of the Digimon Vital Bracelet. I also wrote a full review for the bracelet which you can check out if you are looking for a comprehensive look and verdict on the product. Many thanks to Impulse Gaming for the cool neon bracelet!
Currently, the Vital Bracelet and its corresponding app are only available in Japanese. While the bracelet obviously costs a certain amount of money depending on your location, the app is free.
Thus, with the power of Google Translate, some guesswork and my love and knowledge towards Digimon, here are my early impressions on the Vital Bracelet after about a day of exercise (or lack thereof).
Dim cards, bright potential
Similar in appearance to micro SD cards, Dim cards hold the data to your Digimon and their respective Digivolutions. Instead of game cartridges, think of these Dim cards as character cartridges, with each one containing a different Digimon. At the time of writing, there are only six types of Dim cards. To see what kind of Digimon lie in wait within each card, you can read our previous article on the topic.
While I contemplated on which Dim card to insert into the bracelet, it is vital (pun intended) to store the cards securely. This is because the cards do not come in a box. Rather, they are held together by another plastic card, exposed to the environment. Since Dim cards are necessary for creating Digimon, losing your Dim card is basically losing your ability to create new Digimon, which is a death sentence if your last Digimon dies.
With all this in mind, I ultimately chose to go with the Ancient Warriors Dim card. It contains the data of Veemon and as a result, Imperialdramon is my final goal. Hopefully, I can raise the rookie to its highest potential before it dies.
Before my Dim card created the iconic blue creature, it created its baby form Chicomon (Chibomon in the west) instead. To my mild disappointment, not much can be done at this stage. The vital bracelet still tracks my number of steps, but many of the options in the bracelet’s menu are locked.
After a few hours, my Vital Bracelet suddenly rang, scaring the life out of me. My fear was quickly replaced with joy as my Chicomon Digivolved to Chibimon! However, the same options remained locked, and that is when I discovered that the real challenge in raising Digimon begins at the Rookie stage onwards.
From the Fresh to Rookie stages, Digimon will automatically Digivolve after a few hours. Once they reach Rookie, players’ exercise and the Digimon’s performance in fights will dictate their Digivolution path.
However, it is not all rainbows and sunshine because your Digimon can die. If the Vital Bracelet does not record your heart rate in 24 hours or if you lose too many consecutive fights, your Digimon will kick the bucket and you will need to start over.
Putting in the exercise
Once my Chibimon finally turned into Veemon, I could finally undertake missions. The punching bag icon in the Vital Bracelet greeted me with various missions, ranging from achieving X number of steps to doing squats for 20 seconds.
Note that it is very easy to trick the bracelet into counting your steps. Even a simple wave goodbye will cause the device to track your steps. My number of steps even went up while I was driving my car!
As a result, while it may not be the most accurate step tracker, it is great for raising your Digimon. The Vital Bracelet is even disabled-friendly to a certain extent. Basically, any kind of motion, even that of manually pushing a wheelchair wheel will count as steps.
However, do note that the Bracelet is not waterproof and dustproof. Users are advised to take off the bracelet when washing hands, according to the official Digimon portal site. Sweat and perspiration from exercise are still fine, but do not attempt to wash it!
In addition, you will need to charge the Bracelet regularly. The battery life is not as long as other fitness trackers in the market. After irregularly using it for a day, the battery was getting close to empty, which was close to what Bandai stated in its FAQ for the bracelet.
Your mission is…
From Rookie stage onwards, missions are the main method to get Vital Points, Trophies, both of which are important factors in determining your partner’s Digivolution path.
Normal missions are tasks that take a long period of time to complete, such as earning x number of Vital Points or a large number of steps. Hard missions are exercise routines, such as squatting, dashing or crunching for x number of seconds (very easy to cheat). Special missions are obtained from the app which gives various rewards while Adv missions are where battles happen.
In Adv missions, a battle will automatically trigger, usually after a specific number of steps. The battle will play out automatically and depending on your Digimon’s stats and how strong it is, your partner may win or lose (and possible die). For those who are worried that the ringing of a Digimon battle may trigger during important real-life stuff, you may adjust the volume of the Vital bracelet so that the alarm does not cause you to leave poor first impressions on your date, for example.
Unfortunately, the bracelet does not give you the option of returning to the previous screen in the event that you do not want to take up the mission. For example, clicking the Hard mission will show me what is my task, but there is no way to go back unless I wait for around 20 seconds for the bracelet to go dark, or if I manually turn off the device.
Furthermore, the Adv missions will automatically bring you to the next stage if you win the current stage. Once you are in an Adv mission, you cannot do anything else like transfer your Digimon back to the app or change any of the bracelet’s settings. In my case, I was forced to fight against a Veedramon, which is a lot stronger than my Rookie Veemon. Unless I turn off the bracelet and wipe out the number of steps logged in, there is no way to progress.
Also, Digimon sleep for a certain amount of hours every day depending on their personality. No missions can be accepted while a Digimon is asleep. As a result, for users with schedules that only permits them to exercise during a Digimon’s naptime, the only way to bypass this is to adjust the clock in the Vital Bracelet, which is a pain.
Vital Bracelet App
Also known as Vital Bracelet Lab, this is the second part of the entire experience. This free app helps log your entire activity. From the number of steps to your overall performance as a tamer, the app will tell you how active you have been for the past few days.
The app is also important for freezing and storing your Digimon. Other than letting you switch between multiple Digimon on the bracelet, this feature is also important for Jogress, or DNA Digivolution. Based on the Japanese manual for the vital bracelet, you can DNA Digivolve specific Digimon together by having one active in the app while another is frozen in storage.
Besides that, the app is where you can set special missions for your bracelet. You can also complete daily, normal or event challenges which reward you with V-coins. The V-coins are the currency used in the shop, which you can buy more special missions or various items to make Digimon raising easier.
While it is entirely in Japanese, the instructions are clear enough to understand with the help of Google Translate. Even if you don’t understand Japanese, there is no story, dialogue or anything too difficult to comprehend.
The Vital Bracelet is by no means a perfect fitness tracker. However, it does retain the essence of using a Digivice. The trial and error of learning about your Digimon’s habits and how to bring it to its fullest potential is still there, even if you need to sweat a bit for it to happen.
Note that all the points above are just my early impressions on the Digimon Vital Bracelet. I have yet to explore most of the Digivolutions myself, so do bear this in mind.
Ultimately, for a price of $65 USD on Bandai’s store, I feel that is well worth the price for Digimon lovers or gamers looking for motivation to exercise. The missions are a great way to stay active (or cheat), even if using the menu is quite troublesome.
You can pre-order these Vital Bracelets and Dim cards from Impulse Gaming:
- Digital Monster Vital Bracelet Standard Edition [White] – RM 229
- Digital Monster Vital Bracelet Standard Edition [Black] – RM 229
- Digital Monster Vital Bracelet Dim Card [Adventure] – RM 69
- Digital Monster Vital Bracelet Dim Card [Vol.01] – RM 69
- Digital Monster Vital Bracelet Dim Card [Vol.02] – RM 69
Already own a Vital Bracelet? Then you should check out our Digivolution guide.