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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Kids can learn a bit about the responsibilities and emotions that go along with caring for a pet. Players perform the sort of pet care tasks that some kids might try to avoid in real life, such as washing, brushing, and feeding pets. They'll also perform veterinary exams, which many kids could find exciting. If kids fail to properly care for these virtual pets, they will see sad-looking kitties and pooches and learn about the consequences of inadequate care. The game doesn't offer a lot of concrete knowledge, but kids can learn about the general importance of caring for animals.
The message here is all about caring for animals and taking responsibility for them.
Positive Role Models
Everybody here is keen on doing the right thing and being as helpful as possible. They know that pets can be fun, but also that they require a lot of work.
Ease of Play
The controls are extremely simple and easy to use. Preschoolers should have no problem with them.
Products & Purchases
The game is a tie-in to not one, but two Nickelodeon shows.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Dora & Kai-Lan's Pet Shelter is an animal care simulation game featuring the stars of several Nickelodeon preschool shows (Dora, Kai-Lan, and Diego). The game is made easy enough for very young children to handle. There are no real negative consequences other than an animal looking sad. Animals do go to the bathroom in the game, but they always do so behind a bush, so there's nothing to be seen.
Is It Any Good?
Aside from multiple familiar faces, Dora & Kai-Lan's Pet Shelter doesn't really bring anything new to the pet simulation genre. It's simplicity makes it nicely geared toward preschooler players, and there's a welcome element of complexity in watching all four animals at once to make sure you're always focusing on the one that needs tending at that moment. But the graphics are strangely rough looking, with stiff animations. It's not that the game is bad, it's just nothing new. Several of 2K Play's Nickelodeon games are far more polished in their presentation than this one.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.