By Randy Nelson From Inside Social Games
Developed byRivet Games,Pet Tales is a combination of pet collecting and world management for Facebook. The game is a visual offspring of FooPets, a previous title from the developer (then called FooMoo), that offered meticulously rendered, lifelike animals.
The gameplay in Pet Tales is split into two components. The first is adopting and caring for a pet. From the outset, players can choose to adopt a puppy or kitten from one of several breeds. Dogs available include dalmatian, rottweiler, golden retriever, beagle and chihuahua breeds. For cats, the initial breeds include American longhair, calico, white shorthair, Maine coon and Persian. Once the player has chosen and names their pet, they’re given the opportunity to pet them (by moving the mouse pointer over them), feed them, give them water and play with them.
After establishing these basics — keeping your puppy or kitten happy and healthy is the core goal of the game — it introduces a more involved world management aspect that incorporates decoration, tasks to complete and various social mechanics. The player is given a dilapidated parcel of park land and must begin by ridding it of gopher holes, weeds and dead leaves, which expends energy. Once the park is cleaned up, the game tasks players with buying and placing various decorative and play items, which, like the park itself, must be regularly maintained. Some examples include park benches, water sprinklers, sun mats and fire hydrants. Pets can interact with some of these items, rewarding the player with coins and other rewards. Ultimately, players can adopt more than one pet, and their furry family can share the lushly landscaped park their master has created.
Social elements come into play at this point. In addition to random, computer-controlled animals, the player’s park is visited to pets belonging to their friends who are playing the game. These visiting canines and felines can be interacted with, which rewards the player with coins and increases their confidence level. Pets can also be sent on “play dates” with friends’ animals, which produce awards and more self confidence. Friends’ parks can be visited directly and interacted with in order to speed up tasks, and there’s a leaderboard that compares the player’s experience level to that of their friends. Additionally, players can send and receive gifts from friends and can place items that allow for social interaction, such as a guest book friends can sign when they visit.
Pet Tales is monetized through the purchase of in-game items and “instant achievement” of goals using two premium currencies, Coins and Bucks, which can be purchased using Facebook credits. At first glance, it appears that PayPal and credit cards can be used to purchase the currency — which would violate Facebook’s policy of only allowing the use of Facebook Credits. The payment process eventually leads to players buying Facebook Credits, however, which are directly converted into Bucks and Coins, effectively keeping players’ money in Pet Tales rather in Facebook Credits that can be used elsewhere.
Rivet Games could not comment on its plans for expanding or enhancing Pet Tales in the future, but the title is receiving new content in the form of themed items on a regular basis.
Pet Tales has seen steady growth since its relaunch [launch?] in early June, likely in large part because of its endearing, realistic pets, varied tasks for players to complete and robust social features. Plus, who can say “no” to a pair of virtual puppy eyes?
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