LeapFrog Explorer Learning Game: Pet Pals 2: Best of Friends!

Common Sense Media says

Learn tricks, make friends, and shop with a virtual puppy.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The game is all about nurturing your puppy and being good friends to other puppies.

Positive role models

Your puppy notices if friends are sad or mad and helps cheer them up. He/she also cheers on a friend if something good happens.

Ease of play

This game has simple controls and very little skill-related challenge. The math problems that come up are multiple choice.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

This game is part of a larger Pet Pals franchise, which primarily includes other games from the same publisher.

Privacy & safety
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that LeapFrog Explorer Learning Game: Pet Pals 2: Best of Friends! is a great introductory title for the Leapster Explorer and LeapPad Explorer. Unlike some of the other games, this one does not follow a set story line. Kids are free to explore, play games, and take care of their puppy. It does have an emphasis on consumer behavior, as you are given coins for doing certain tasks (including being a good friend) and are encouraged to buy clothes, toys, and premium food for your puppy. The game also supports Micromods, which allow kids to connect online and download additional game-related content, and the LeapFrog Learning Path where parents can track their kids' progress in the game.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Math

  • addition
  • money
  • subtraction

Hobbies

  • pets

Skills

Self-Direction

  • achieving goals
  • goal-setting

Emotional Development

  • empathy
  • identifying emotions
  • labeling feelings

Communication

  • friendship building
  • listening

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

A cute game that will have a lot of appeal across gender lines in the pre-school age range. Picking out your own puppy and playing with it has universal appeal.
 

Learning Approach

The activities on feelings and friendship can help connect kids to their own life experiences. The math sections feel forced, but do help kids with simple arithmetic skills. Nothing too deep, but all age appropriate.

Support

Parents can track kids' progress through the LeapFrog Learning Path and will find additional tools and resources on the LeapFrog website to help reinforce the learning.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Math

  • addition
  • money
  • subtraction

Hobbies

  • pets

Skills

Self-Direction

  • achieving goals
  • goal-setting

Emotional Development

  • empathy
  • identifying emotions
  • labeling feelings

Communication

  • friendship building
  • listening

Kids can learn the basics of caring for a pet, including addressing its physical and emotional needs. They can learn addition and subtraction through the dog show game, and basic money-saving and goal-setting as they work toward buying items at the store. Kids can start to develop empathy and an understanding of emotions by helping other friends’ dogs. They can also work on fine motor skills as they draw the shapes needed to teach the puppies new tricks. This puppy sim balances math and emotion in a cute, fun package.

This Learning Rating review was written by Christy Matte

Parents say

Kids say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

What's it about?

LEAPFROG EXPLORER LEARNING GAME: PET PALS 2: BEST OF FRIENDS! invites the player to adopt a puppy, name him/her, and then care for this new friend. Puppies need to be bathed, played with, fed, dressed, and entertained. Kids earn Puppy Points for nurturing their pets. As they earn more points, they increase in rank and are eventually able to adopt additional friends. Outside of the virtual house, there are plenty of other things to do. Kids can shop at the Pup Boutique or the Bark Mark for clothes, food, and toys. They can visit the training center to learn new tricks or the park to play with friends. There's a dog show where kids demonstrate their ability to bathe and dress their pet, and also show off their math skills (addition and subtraction).

Kids can earn trophies and coins that they can use to shop. While walking around outside, they also have the chance to make friends with the 10 other puppies who live in town. If they can tell what emotion the puppies are feeling (from a multiple choice set of images), they can build up their friendship and possibly earn prizes. And if they're in need of more cash, they can try out the Treasure Hunt, where they can earn coins and collectible items. Much like other games, they earn badges for completing tasks and meeting goals. 

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Pet Pals 2: Best of Friends! is a cute game that will have a lot of appeal across gender lines in the target age range. Because it doesn't require a lot of special knowledge or gaming skill, it skews younger, but picking out your own puppy and playing with it does have universal appeal. Although there is no set storyline and no "end goal," kids may enjoy trying to become "best friends" with all of the puppies in town and finding all of the collectibles in the treasure hunt. Other kids will simply enjoy the day-to-day care of the puppies without being concerned about completing things. This one is a good staple for the library of Leapster Explorer/LeapPad Explorer owners, especially those on the younger side.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about caring for a pet. What does it take to care for a pet in the real world? How is that different from caring for a virtual pet in a game?

  • They can also discuss what it means to be a good friend. How can you be a good friend? What can you do if one of your real friends is happy/angry/sad?

  • Families can talk about money. What does it mean to save money? Why would you choose to save your money rather than spend it right away?

Game details

Platforms:LeapPad Explorer, Leapster Explorer
Price:$24.99
Available online?Not available online
Developer:LeapFrog
Release date:November 1, 2011
Genre:Edutainment
Topics:Cats, dogs, and mice

This review of LeapFrog Explorer Learning Game: Pet Pals 2: Best of Friends! was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Parent Written bykarebare83 January 31, 2013
AGE
7
QUALITY
 

doesn't work

this game doesn't work with the new leappad2, it freezes everytime your child plays with it....... if you end up buying the app they won't even refund your money!!!!!

What other families should know
Too much consumerism

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Top Kids' Movies: An Essential Guide for Families