Petz: Dogz Talent Show
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Petz: Dogz Talent Show is a straightforward pet simulator aimed at young children. Players need only be able to read the occasional short, simple instructive sentence to figure out how the game works, and goals are basic and immediate enough that kids shouldn’t get confused as to what to do next. What’s more, the message here is responsible pet ownership through proper feeding, petting, and playing. Other than the occasional bit of humorous puppy flatulence, there is nothing untoward about the action on screen. One thing parents might want to note, though, is that the game is designed to interact with other Petz properties, including Petz.com and Petz: Nursery (another DS game). This could leave kids hounding moms and dads for more Petz products.
What's it about?
Yet another entry in Ubisoft’s rapidly expanding line of games under the Petz brand, PETZ: DOGZ TALENT SHOW is a pretty basic pet simulator. Players purchase a pup from the pet store, then take it home where they can play with it, train it, pet it, feed it, and watch it sleep. The dog’s skills slowly grow as players get better at leading it through an obstacle course and playing Frisbee with it. Eventually players will be able to take it to the talent stadium where the dog can show off what it’s learned. All of the activities and objectives are simple enough that children with a first-grade reading level ought to be able to figure things out on their own with minimal assistance.
Is it any good?
Petz: Dogz Talent Show’s animals are cute to look at and animate well -- both key elements to any successful pet simulator. What’s more, players can interact with them in fun ways, like throwing balls and Frisbees with the stylus and then watching short movies showing how the animal acrobatically bounds off walls and furniture to catch them. The only game that stands out as disappointing is the skateboarding activity, which requires the DS to be flipped upside down and has players steering by tapping the screen. It’s a bit awkward and not much fun.
Most of the minigames are unlocked in the first hour, which might make it seem as though the game is very short. However, it takes quite a while for the puppies to grow up and make become skilled enough to go to the talent stadium. Plus, players can train up to eight pets at a time, and eventually breed them, providing something to look forward to later in the game. It’s not the deepest or most original pet sim around, but it’s got the basics covered and delivers a good, clean message about responsible pet ownership. Young dog lovers will likely have a great time with it.
Online interaction: This game allows children to upload pictures of their animals to Petz.com, where they can be shared with friends. Kids will neither see nor interact with any other players during this process.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about proper pet care. Have you ever owned a dog? Do you think this game does a good job of emulating the responsibilities involved? What doesn’t the game cover?
Families can also discuss whether this game might help prepare a child for pet ownership. Do you think its activities are authentic enough to make kids think about the amount of time and energy that must be devoted to one’s pets?