A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
The primary theme here is friendship. The pets are constantly visiting one another, preparing parties, and helping each other out. With support for local wireless play in the DS edition, players can connect with one of their pals and play some of the mini-games together.
Positive Role Models
The pets featured in the game are wholesome and good natured, never fighting or insulting one another. They’re the very model of happy, playful chums.
Ease of Play
The DS’ touch screen affords simpler and more precise controls than the infrared and motion-sensitive controls in the Wii edition. However, the games are equally easy to learn on both platforms.
Violence & Scariness
Not an issue.
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Not an issue.
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Products & Purchases
This game is associated with Hasbro’s Littlest Pet Shop line of toys. When players open the box the first thing they see is an insert advertising over a dozen of the toy pets that appear in the game, plus a collectible sticker. They’re also given three codes redeemable within the Littlest Pet Shop online community at LPSO.com. Other commercial elements include an in-box flyer for EA’s Charm Girls Club games as well as an extras section in the game’s main menu that allows players to watch advertisements for other EA games targeted at girls.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this game is tied to Hasbro’s Littlest Pet Shop line of toys as well as the Littlest Pet Shop online community. There are ads inside the box and in the game’s “extras” section that promote toys and other EA games geared for girls, plus codes redeemable at Hasbro’s online community for kids. Commercial elements aside, the game is wholesome fun for children. It has a strong theme of friendship and features plenty of cute little pets that want nothing more than to plan parties, dress up, and play with one another. Note that while there are multiple versions of the DS game (dubbed Beach, Country, and City), they all have the same story and activities. The only significant difference is that each offers half a dozen exclusive pets.
Is It Any Good?
Aside from the game's clear marketing ploy designed to heighten awareness among children of Hasbro’s Littlest Pet Shop toys, this isn’t a bad game. Its strong message of friendship and complete lack of any sort of violence will be welcomed by parents, and its basic narrative should appeal to children. So, for that matter, should most of the games. Mixing paint colors, collecting ingredients for recipes, buying pet clothes and accessories with kibble coins earned while playing other games -- these are activities that involve creativity and freedom while providing objectives and rewards kids can wrap their heads around. They do become a bit repetitive after a while, and the game would have benefitted from voice work to help kids who are still learning to read, but these aren’t deal-breakers.
One final note: We recommend going with one of the DS versions (Littlest Pet Shop: Friends City, Littlest Pet Shop: Friends Beach, or Littlest Pet Shop: Friends Country) rather than the Littlest Pet Shop: Friends Wii edition, partly because they’re $10 cheaper, but also because the touch screen controls are a bit more intuitive and precise than the infrared and motion-sensitive interface provided for the Wii game.
Online interaction: Not an issue.
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