Bandai is to bring Tamagotchi electronic toys back to the market, 17 years after they first became a worldwide sensation.

Tamagotchi Friends look basically the same as the original toys. You have to hatch a Tamagotchi on the small, egg-like electronic device and care for and nurture it. But a number of key new features and in-game options bring them bang up to date.

Each Tamagotchi Friend can interact with another, through wireless technology. Bump with a friend's Friends and you'll be able to send text messages between Tamagotchis, play games together or even go on "playdates". The more you bump with others' devices, the more you will earn points and rewards. You can use the points to buy in-game meals, snacks and jewellery. You can then share items with friends.

There are five mini-games in the one device and a cast of new characters to collect, with names like Coffretchi, Knighttchi, Tropicatchi and Spacytchi.

Bandai will be releasing webisodes featuring the new Tamagotchi Friends at, and the new toys will be released in the UK in December. US fans will have to wait a bit longer, until autumn 2014.

Tamagotchi L.I.F.E., the iPhone and Android app, is available from the respective app stores.