A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Fantastic Pets is a pet simulation that uses gesture-based controls and voice commands and requires the Xbox 360's Kinect motion capture camera to play. There's no coarse language or offensive material whatsoever, but players should be aware of their real-world surroundings while playing some of the more physical mini-games.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
FANTASTIC PETS puts players in charge of caring for a variety of exotic dogs, cats, lizards, and ponies who have unique characteristics like the ability to breathe fire or fly. Kids engage with their pets through mini-games and activities such as washing and brushing the pet (yes, even the lizards), playing fetch, chasing bubbles, teaching them voice- and gesture-based commands, and entering talent show competitions to earn gems, which unlock new ways to customize the pet's appearance. Eventually the player can adopt more pets for a total of four.
Is it any good?
Thanks to the Kinect camera peripheral, it looks like the pet is right there in the player's own living room (or wherever the entertainment center is set up), which adds new layers of fun and interactivity to the pet sim model. Kids are also encouraged to get active through a variety of mini-games that will have them running on the spot, crouching, jumping, waving their arms, and making different poses for their pet to imitate. A second player can join the game at any time bringing his or her pet along, too.
The only downside is that gestures don't always register as crisply as in other Kinect games, which can lead to frustration when, for example, it takes a few tries before you're able to grab the ball out of your pet's mouth. This is an occasional rather than a chronic problem, however, and is by no means a deal-breaker for this family-friendly sim.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what it felt like to be able to see yourself and your pet together on the TV screen. Was it a good enough substitute for having a real pet? Did you enjoy being able to get active with your pet?
What are some of the differences involved with caring for a real pet rather than a virtual one? What are some of the things your virtual pet can do that a real one couldn't, and vice versa?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.