Nintendo Switch – Early Mario & Luigi Studio RPG Playable In English
Tomato Adventure, a 2002 Game Boy Advance RPG developed by AlphaDream, is now playable in English thanks to an unofficial fan translation patch.
A 2002 Nintendo Game Boy Advance RPG called Tomato Adventure is now playable in English due to a recent unofficial translation patch. The game was originally brought to Japanese audiences by the now-defunct AlphaDream, a studio known for developing every installment of the Mario & Luigi series through its partnership with Nintendo.
In 2000, AlphaDream was founded by a group of ex-Square developers, including former Square president Tetsuo Mizuno. The studio worked on games mostly for Nintendo consoles, ranging from the Game Boy Color to the Nintendo Switch. However, AlphaDream filed for bankruptcy in 2019, citing low profits and high costs as the reasoning behind its demise. By the time it decided to shut down operations, the company had accumulated 400 million yen ($3.7 million USD) in debt. AlphaDream’s last development contribution was for Sega’s Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 for the Switch.
Although AlphaDream developed several games with English-language releases over the course of nearly two decades, Tomato Adventure never ventured beyond Japan. Now, an English version (via Kotaku) is available for download thanks to a fan translation patch available on ROMhacking.net. English speakers curious about the relatively obscure Game Boy Advance RPG can finally follow protagonist DeMille as he travels through Ketchup Kingdom to save his girlfriend, Patharan, from King Abira. As expected from AlphaDream, which produced exemplary titles like Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time, there is plenty of slapstick comedy throughout the journey, as well.
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Tomato Adventure features turn-based battle gameplay, complemented by additional side quests and puzzles. In battles, players use unique weapons called “gimmicks” that require players to complete mid-battle minigames in order to do the most damage. This feature later became a staple of the Mario & Luigi RPG series, with the titular brothers needing to jump on Goombas in timed succession or dodge enemy attacks with button presses. In Tomato Adventure, some minigames test the player’s reaction time and reflexes, while others test memory. The gimmicks also have a range of difficulties that make these minigames harder in exchange for higher damage output potential.
Tomato Adventure might be the newest way to indulge in AlphaDream-related nostalgia for now, but new installments of the Mario & Luigi series could make their way to shelves in the future, with Nintendo filing a new trademark for Mario & Luigi games and other products in early 2020. Either way, the Tomato Adventure fan translation is, in its own small way, allowing AlphaDream to live on beyond its dissolution.
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