Freaky Pets Game Poster Image

Freaky Pets

(i)

 

Limited online game where you purchase Hallmark pet toys.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Ostensibly, the game teaches kids that they can have moods and be cranky, but can choose to be nice. The default mood for pets is always cute rather than cranky.

Positive role models

The game asks what mood the player is in and the child can change the online pet from cute to cranky, but all the other creatures in game are in 'cute" rather than cranky mode. Kromdar the Dinosaur is portrayed as a wise wizard.

Ease of play

Game-play consists of mouse clicks and use of the keyboard, but learning to play the game is not so easy. There isn't a tutorial, but kids will find a few tool tips when they first enter the game.

Violence

Some mini-games have mild violence, like one where kids use a toy cannon to shoot down escaped toy blimps and airplanes.

Sex
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

This is an online game about playing with pets. You get one pet for free, but all others must be purchased at Hallmark stores and then their code inputted so that they appear in the online game. A closing screen when logging out informs players that they can purchase more of the physical toys with a two dollars off coupon at Hallmark Gold Crown stores.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that FREAKY PETS is an online pet game. Playing with a single digital pet is free, but additional pets have to be purchased from Hallmark retail stores. These collectible toy pets appear in the game when a special code is entered under the Parent's account to add the pet to the child's account.  Parents also need to know that the online game is browser-based but does require the Unity plugin to play.

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What's it about?

FREAKY PETS is a collectible toy and virtual game tie-in. The collectible toy can be either "cute" or "cranky" and kids decide the mood of their pet by physically turning the toy inside out and securing it with a Velcro strip. The digital toy in the online game transforms its mood by a click on an icon. Kids can run around in Pet Town, explore the surroundings, play mini-games, learn dances and tricks, and make friends with other players. Playing mini-games is how kids earn in-game coins that they can use to buy accessories to customize their pets, items for their lair (house), as well as buy different dance moves and tricks. Like Freaky Creatures and Webkinz, kids can buy additional collectible toys that come with a code to unlock additional digital version of pets in the game.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

Freaky Pets is free to play online with a single pet, the Purriz. The world is small right now with only a handful of mini-games for kids to play. The mini-games are diverse and well designed, and include racing and dance games, with varying difficulty levels. A subscription ($5.99 a year) unlocks more games and difficulty levels, as well as provides monthly in-game gifts. Playing mini-games earns in-game coins to purchase items and customize your pet, but items cost upward of 1,000 coins. Kids will have to play a lot of mini-games to earn this amount since scoring well in each game only earns kids between 100 and 150 coins.

Online interaction: Kids under 13 are limited to menu chat. For those 13 and older, the free chat is subject to a strong language filter and human monitoring.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about moods and why the pets are cute or cranky.  They can also discuss manners and feelings to reinforce that it's okay to feel angry or frustrated, but not to act out and be mean when they are.

  • Families can also discuss the concept of buying things in game and out of game, of saving, and making decisions about in-game purchases.

  • Since kids will want to play the game to earn the in-game coins, families can talk about setting priorities and computer time limits.

Game details

Platforms:Windows
Price:Free / Subscription
Available online?Available online
Developer:Abandon Interactive Entertainment
Release date:August 19, 2010
Genre:Massively Multi-player Online Game (MMOG)
ESRB rating:NR for Not Rated

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