After shedding sweat, sweat and more sweat with the Digimon Vital Bracelet on my wrist, here is my review of the fitness tracker cum Digimon game. Note that this is a full review of the Vital Bracelet after a week of using it and will be a lot more comprehensive than my first impressions of the product.
Once again, many thanks to Impulse Gaming for the Vital Bracelet and Dim Card. The bottom of this article will have a list of Vital Bracelet products that you can check out on their online store.
With that said, carry on reading for my review of the Digimon Vital Bracelet.
Like Tamagotchi and Digital Monster before it, the Vital Bracelet is a virtual pet raising simulator. However, unlike the two, the Vital Bracelet is not a toy, but a watch with built-in fitness tracking and pet-raising sim. In terms of the raising aspect, it is more simplified and straightforward than most games of the same genre. Pooping is no longer a mechanic, which may disappoint some Digimon fans, but makes the game less troublesome. There is also no feeding and there is also a way to stop Digimon from sleeping.
In addition, Digimon no longer have a lifespan and are immortal, unless the user messes up. As long as the Digimon doesn’t lose too many fights in a row and the user’s heart rate is measured once a day, the Digimon will never die. Thus, with proper care, it is possible to collect every single Digimon since they can be stored safely within the mobile app. For those of us who love collecting Digimon rather than just raising one at a time, this is great news.
Interaction with Digimon is done purely through missions and battles. Even though I hate exercising, the game managed to get me to move around and sweat, since battles only trigger after a certain amount of steps during Adv missions. Since Digimon no longer have lifespans, you can exercise and raise your Digimon at your own pace, which is an excellent feature. However, because the entire Digimon-raising gameplay is purely missions and fights, it can feel a bit one-dimensional as it is basically an exercise motivation app disguised as Digimon.
Battles are also quite unpredictable and automatically take place without any player input. Each Digimon has specific stats, which are DP, HP and AP. Even though my GoldVeedramon (Ultimate stage) has higher stats in all categories than its earlier Champion form, Veedramon, my GoldVeedramon occasionally loses against Champion level enemies. On the other hand, my Veedramon defeated 3 Ultimate-level Digimon in a row, having a 80%+ win rate compared to my GoldVeedramon’s 60%+ win rate. Currently, the three main stats do not really have a consistent impact during fights, which is somewhat confusing.
In addition, each Digimon has 15 different Adv stages to complete, with each one featuring a different enemy Digimon. Currently, only Digimon that are contained within the same Dim Card will be enemies. For example, a Veemon will never fight an enemy Agumon or one of its Digivolutions, but will only encounter other Veemon Digivolutions as enemies. As a result, enemy variety is quite predictable and redundant.
There are currently 79 available Digimon in the game with more on their way in upcoming Dim Cards. The Vital Bracelet also marks the debut of entirely new Digimon into the franchise, such as Pulsemon and its evolutionary line.
All the Digimon feature cute and adorable sprites, such as idle, sleeping or exercising animations. The sprites are fully coloured and look more expressive and attractive than other pet-raising simulators in the market. Furthermore, because the user has to sweat and exercise just to get Vital Points and trigger battles for Digimon to Digivolve, this makes collecting and raising new Digimon extremely satisfying.
Digimon will also sleep every day for around 12 hours. The exact sleeping hours depend on the Digimon. When they are sleeping, missions and fight cannot take place, which can make it troublesome for those who are only free to exercise during a Digimon’s rest time. The only way to overcome this is for the user to adjust the Vital Bracelet’s clock settings, which is troublesome.
Digimon go through multiple stages throughout their limitless lifespan, from their Baby form to Mega form. From Rookie to Ultimate stages, your Digimon will Digivolve after a certain number of hours (excluding sleep time) depending on its amount of Vital Points, Trophies, Battles Wins and Win Rate percentage.
Jogress or DNA Digivolution is also a feature in the game. Currently, only WarGreymon and MetalGarurumon, as well as their Black versions can DNA Digivolve to Omegamon and Omegamon Zwart respectively (Omegamon is Omnimon’s Japanese name). With more Digimon to come, players can expect more possibilities and variety for DNA Digivolutions in the future.
One excellent quality of life improvement is the ability to cancel Digivolutions. While some players prefer to let their Digivolutions happen naturally, for those who are aiming to unlock a specific Digimon, this is a fantastic option.
As a fitness tracker, the Vital Bracelet can track your steps and measure your heart rate. It is not an accurate step tracker as even a simple motion of driving a car can increase the number of steps. However, as a pet-raising simulator, this is really gameplay-friendly, but do not expect to accurately count your daily number of steps.
In terms of battery life, the Vital Bracelet should be able to remain on for about 18 hours. When compared to other fitness trackers which can go on for nearly a week without charging, this does seem quite short. To fully charge it, Bandai recommends 4 hours of charging through a PC USB port (do not use a fast charger). As a result, the charging cable is extremely short.
The Vital Bracelet has two buttons. The top button is for selecting the next option while the bottom button is for confirming or cancelling an option (to cancel, hold the lower button). The menu is easy to understand as it uses icons, symbols and simple English words. The only Japanese text in the interface is your Digimon’s name and its stage of Digivolution.
In addition, the Vital Bracelet is not waterproof or dustproof. Bandai advised customers to take off the bracelet while washing their hands. As long as the bracelet is not fully submerged into water or dropped into a toilet bowl, it should be fine. Sweat and perspiration is also not an issue.
While wearing the Vital Bracelet, it feels as comfortable as any normal watch. I do not feel it on my wrist at all. However, like most watches, a certain degree of care and caution is to be expected. The black, main body of the bracelet and its screen is easy to scratch, since physical activity is more or less unavoidable. The screen will also come into contact of your phone and other NFC devices to access the app or trigger fights. Thus it is advisable to put on a screen protector and/or a fitness band around the bracelet.
Besides that, one annoying aspect of the Vital Bracelet is that when it is turned off, users will need to reset the time and date settings whenever they turn it back on. Considering that it can store the data of my Digimon and all its Digivolutions, but not the time and date that I set is quite mind-boggling.
Vital Lab companion app
The companion app for the Vital Bracelet is called Vital Lab. It is free to download on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store. Note that it is fully in Japanese.
The app allows players to track their progress and their Digimon’s growth. It is also the only way to store and freeze multiple Digimon, which is great if you ever feel bored or tired looking at the same Digimon. The app also lets players take on challenges, set SP missions and buy items and more SP missions in the in-game shop.
SP missions give trophies and EXP for the user’s tamer rank when completed. Since the SP missions have a timer to them, some of the SP missions can be rather difficult. For example, achieving 6000 steps in 60 minutes. As a result, only set the SP missions into your Vital Bracelet if you are able to exercise as the timer starts ticking down the moment the SP mission is transferred into the Vital Bracelet.
Tamer Rank is another feature in the game that does not appear to be fully implemented. Currently, other than contributing to achievements, there does not seem to be worthwhile rewards for getting a higher Tamer Rank. You can increase your Tamer Rank by gaining EXP, either from completing SP missions or Digivolving your Digimon.
To transfer your Digimon to the app and vice versa, a phone with NFC (Near Field Communication) capability is required. Transferring your Digimon to the app is quite simple, but transferring your Digimon from the app to the Vital Bracelet can sometimes result in errors. Usually, most of this can be fixed by keeping your phone completely still while the app is connecting.
If your phone does not have NFC capability, it is still possible to raise and train your Digimon entirely with the Vital Bracelet and Dim Card. However, note that you will not be able to set SP missions, store many Digimon or access the in-game shop.
Overall, raising Digimon through the Digimon Vital Bracelet has been a rather pleasant experience with a few manageable grievances. It is easy enough to navigate and get used to even if you do not understand Japanese. With more Digimon, updates and content such as Raids coming in the future, the Vital Bracelet certainly has a lot more to offer.
It is a great device to help people get motivated to exercise. Digimon fans looking to get into a healthier lifestyle should definitely get their own Vital Bracelet and Dim card as seeing your Digimon Digivolve purely through your own sweat and effort feels more rewarding than any other Digimon toy or game in the market.
On Bandai’s store, the Vital Bracelet is currently priced at $65 USD. In my opinion, the Vital Bracelet is well worth its value for what it offers. The Vital Bracelet is a great step forward for Tamagotchi and pet-raising simulators as a whole, especially in the current climate of lockdown and pandemic which has made exercise a lot more restrictive.
For those in Malaysia, 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 Special Edition [Green] – RM 259
- 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.
Digimon Vital Bracelet
A great device to motivate you to exercise while simultaneously offering the Digimon raising experience.
- Simplified pet-raising experience
- Extremely rewarding
- Great for motivating users to exercise
- The app allows for Digimon collection
- Combat is one-dimensional and unpredictable
- Annoying time settings and sleep schedules
Praying for an official Western release