The latest in the line of Chao Breeding come from the depths of the beautiful Sonic Advance. It comes in the form of ‘Tiny Chao Garden’, and is a much more sophisticated version of the Chao Adventure game found on the VMUs we all knew and loved (but wasn’t very good). Along with Sonic Adventure 2 Battle on the GameCube, Sonic Advance will take the place of the VMU, and rightly so. Prepare for the greatest Chao breeding in the palm of your hand…
You can start raising Chao straight away, as an egg is already waiting for you in the game regardless of whether you connect it to Sonic Adventure 2 Battle or not. When you begin, you are taken to a garden that looks much like a forest. This is the standard Chao Garden; as your Chao grows up and you become more experienced you will begin to unlock new ones, including a pinball-style garden, with your Chao bouncing all over the shop.
In essence, this is a bigger version of Chao Adventure, as many familiar elements can be found here. You can change the name of your Chao as soon as it hatches and if you leave it idle it will just walk up and down the garden waiting for your care.
In Chao Adventure you had a little game to tide yourself over, while getting fruit for your chao. This time there are two mini-games to play when you start off, and you play for rings instead of fruit. You’ll find that rings are the basis for everything here, as you need these to BUY your Chao food to eat. Be careful what you buy though, as some fruit may raise certain stats of your Chao’s skills that you don’t want.
Test out all the food first – when you get really good, you can buy the toys and big items for 1000 rings, such as the trumpet. Obviously, you’ll never get that amount by just playing the mini-games, so luckily you can use the rings you collect in the main Sonic Advance adventure too. Hoorah!
There is the worry that since Sonic Advance releases before SA2 Battle, you’ll be able to raise your Chao to the max before the Gamecube release, then transfer your Chao to SA2 Battle and win all the races as soon as you have the game. Well, I don’t think Sonic Team are silly enough to forget about that, and although I’m not sure whether it will be the case either, there is one thing stopping that rumour – level-ups.
Your standard skills (Fly, Power, Swim, Run) are shown in levels now instead of a simple number (up to 999). So, if SA2 Battle is incorporating this level-up feature too, it makes the whole situation a whole lot less likely to be manipulated. Other things to mention: your Chao has the tendency to say the coolest things as it learns to speak. And remember to feed your Chao regularly – there is a meter called ‘Belly’ telling you how hungry it is – and look after its ‘Mood’ (how moody it is) as well.