Family movie night? There's an app for that
Download our new mobile app on iOS and Android.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Players work for a kind of animal sanctuary where exotic pets from around the world are collected and cared for. Animals choose to come and live in the sanctuary as opposed to being caught and brought back. The game's motion-based interface encourages physical activity.
Positive Role Models
Players are encouraged to play with and train their pets by a life-like computerized guide. The animals themselves are playful and non-aggressive.
Ease of Play
Controls are completely gesture-based and for the most part easy to execute. Kids can make different poses in front of the camera, which the pets will imitate, and can communicate with the pet by speaking simple voice commands like "Jump!" and "Sit!" Controls are less responsive during certain mini-games.
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.
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.
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.