A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What 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.
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?
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.
Talk to your kids 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.
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