Petz Bunnyz Bunch

Game review by
Erin Bell, Common Sense Media
Petz Bunnyz Bunch Game Poster Image
Rabbit care game not entirely accurate, but extremely cute.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

The game teaches players the basics of caring for a pet. Players are rewarded for keeping the rabbits well-fed, brushed, and amused with toys and games. The message is that it's a pet owner's responsibility to provide for the animals in their care.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Players are encouraged to be good caregivers by seeing to the rabbits' daily needs. On the other hand, players can drop a rabbit back off at the adoption center at any time, which creates the mixed message that pets can also be expendable.

Ease of Play

The game is easy to play, and a tutorial walks the player through the basics. Visual indicators let the player know what foods the rabbit likes, when it is getting bored with the toy, when it wants to eat, and so on. Some light reading is also required.

Violence & Scariness
Language
Consumerism

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Petz Bunnyz Bunch is a sandbox-style pet sim aimed at younger players. Players bring rabbits home from the adoption center and are then responsible for keeping them fed, watered, brushed, bathed, and entertained. Rabbits become less playful if their needs aren't met, but that's as far as it goes in terms of consequences. There's no objectionable content for parents to be concerned about, and controls are intuitive and largely based on visual cues.

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What's it about?

In PETS BUNNYZ BUNCH players can care for up to 20 rabbits at a time, choosing from 10 popular breeds including Dutch, Mini Lop, Californian, and Lionhead. Players see to the rabbits' basic needs while interacting with them in a virtual living room, and can play mini-games to earn coins to spend on toys and decor. Rabbits can't be taught commands like the puppies in Nintendogs, but they can passively learn "tricks" by spending time with a favorite toy, rewarding the player with cute animations to watch.

Is it any good?

The latest game in the long-running Petz seres, PETS BUNNYZ BUNCH is more of a general introduction to pet ownership -- and an excuse to interact with adorable virtual bunnies -- than a real primer on rabbit care. While the rabbits definitely look the part in the game, sometimes they act more like dogs, cats, or hamsters. (Any rabbit owner will tell you that rabbits don't purr, squeak, eat with their hands, or need to be bathed.) That said, the rabbits are still great fun to watch and interact with, making this a perfect virtual pet alternative for children who are too young for (or too allergic to) the real thing.

Online interaction: Kids can send and receive rabbits to each other via wireless connection. Kids also unlock Petz Bunnyz codes that can be used to unlock bunny breeds in Petz World, an upcoming online social game.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about in what ways you would need to care for a rabbit differently than a dog or cat. Do you think rabbits are more challenging to take care of, or less so?

  • Parents can also talk about the significance of animal shelters, since all the rabbits in the game are adopted from an animal shelter rather than bought from a pet store.

  • Talk about the different breeds of rabbits. Do you prefer large rabbits or small breeds?

Game details

  • Platforms: Nintendo DS
  • Price: $29.99
  • Available online? Not available online
  • Developer: UbiSoft
  • Release date: March 8, 2011
  • Genre: Simulation
  • ESRB rating: E

For kids who love playing with animals

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