By Shelly Tan From Social Games Today
In this latest addition to the Pet Games Genre, players can adopt dogs or cats and create a park just for them. However, the game separates itself from other games likePet Society and Happy Pets with its lovingly rendered animals, with fur so detailed you can see individual hairs. It’s nothing new for people who have played games like Nintendogs DS, but it’s a nice change of pace for Facebook games.
As you level up, previously locked items will become available to you, allowing you to decorate your park with more lavish items such as movie screens and wishing wells. The more you decorate your park, the more it’ll attract other pets to visit and play. These pets freely walk around outside of your control, but you can make your pet interact with them by clicking on them. The same applies to the toys you place in the park. For example, clicking on a sprinkler will make your pet turn on the water and play in it.
Playing with other animals also raises your pet’s confidence level, which will allow you to send it on play dates. Sending it on enough play dates with a certain pet will allow them to become BFFs (Best Friends Forever). Doing this doesn’t really accomplish much, especially since you don’t actually see the play date happening, but your pet’s BFF will now have a ring of hearts surrounding it whenever it visits your park.
In terms of direct interaction, clicking on the “Care” button zooms in on your pet and lets you see every strand of its fluffy fur in startling detail. You then have three options: Feeding it, giving it water or playing with it. Each is accomplished through clicking a button, and you can also just hover your cursor over the animal to pet it.
As with most other social games, Pet Tales offers limited edition items for players who want to pay to play. Special toys, furniture and other decorative items are available for the game’s premium currency. Premium players can also adopt additional pets as opposed to non-paying players who are limited to just one pet.
The graphics of the game are its best feature. The animals are lovingly rendered and have a realism that separates them from most other pet games–Pet Society, Happy Pets, PetVille, etc.–on Facebook. The realism also makes simple interactions with your pet 10 times more endearing. Just petting your animal is enjoyable thanks to the graphics.
However, the gameplay is ultimately a bit shallow. Other than petting your animal, you aren’t really doing much other than clicking a button and then watching things happen without you. It’s not unusual to see in a Facebook game–even Farmville is just simple clicking and waiting–but it does get boring.
A few other pet games offer more in the way of depth. For example, in Happy Pets, when the player selects a toy, a mini-game activates. These mini-games differ from toy to toy so you get the chance to feel like you’re actually interacting with your pet.
Pet Tales also offers little motivation to decorate your park, even though that’s the main objective. Adding new items to the park doesn’t give you more experience and doesn’t help your pet grow. In fact, your pet can’t really grow at all, which is disappointing. Adding a level system would make playing with your pet more worthwhile. For example, Touch Pets: Dogs allows pets to learn new tricks as they level up.
As mentioned earlier though, the game is still in beta so new features could be added. If interactions with the pets gain some more depth, Pet Tales has some real potential to become an endearing game to pet lovers. However, for now, Pet Tales offers beautiful graphics with a rather limited gaming experience.
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