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Paws & Claws: Pampered Pets
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this game is designed for young kids who are interested in dogs and cats. It gives kids the opportunity to interact with virtual animals by using the touch screen to pet, play fetch, and feed them, and provides interesting information about their behavioral patterns. What's more, the game teaches the basics of managing a pet grooming business by rewarding players with money that needs to be reinvested to build more attractions, buy more food, and attract more customers. The game may appeal more to girls than boys since the main character is a girl and you choose her hair, clothes, etc.
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What's it about?
PAWS & CLAWS: PAMPERED PETS is the latest entry in a line of games catering to kids who are interested in animals and their care. Pampered Pets focuses specifically on cats and dogs whose owners are looking to treat them to a few hours of mollycoddling. Pets can spend the night in bungalows with themes such as \"Nature\" or \"Movies,\" go for a romp in an open enclosure, or spend some time in the spa.
Taking on the role of a young entrepreneur named Brianna, players ensure pet satisfaction by petting, playing with, and feeding the animals. The better they look after the pets, the more likely their owners will be to leave a generous tip, which players invest back into the company by purchasing pet food and new amenities. Long-term game goals include setting up a workshop where players can mix various food ingredients to create fancy pet treats, and earning loyal, big-spending customers.
Is it any good?
Pampered Pets' most compelling feature is its focus on the real-life responsibilities involved in running a business. The game's simple simulation style of play forces players to think a bit about strategy. For example: You can get away with not feeding the pets you look after, but if you put in the time and money to prepare and feed them decent meals, their owners will likely leave you a bigger tip. Indeed, much of the game comes down to the old adage that you have to spend money to make money. But there's no need to worry about going bankrupt; like many good children's games, Pampered Pets doesn't let players lose. If you don't run your business efficiently, it will simply take longer to achieve some of the game's objectives.
There are, however, a couple of glaring issues in the game's design. For starters, there isn't any sort of tutorial, which means players will need to wander around and experiment in order to figure things out. This isn't a problem most of the time, but don't be surprised if, say, you can't figure out why you aren't allowed to use the food you recently purchased to feed your pets (hint: you can only feed your pets packaged foods until you buy a workshop, which will let you mix raw ingredients like salmon and tuna together to create a new meal type). Plus, the pet interactions are pretty repetitive. The novelty of using a stylus to groom animals eventually loses its charm and, perhaps fittingly, begins to feel like little more than manual labor necessary to earn virtual cash. Still, Pampered Pets is, in general, a fun and well-meaning game. Young, pet-loving girls will likely enjoy it.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what it takes to run your own business. Pampered Pets demonstrates the basics of running a business, including customer service, supply management, and labor. What are some of the other responsibilities involved in managing a company? Small business owners typically spend most of their time working, so it helps if they enjoy what they do. What sort of company do you think you might enjoy operating enough to be willing to put in long hours?
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