What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this simple pet simulation game focuses on dogs and cats entering pet shows, where they showoff player-created fashions and perform tricks. Players spend their time feeding, grooming, and dressing their pets, and consequently learn about some of the basic responsibilities associated with pet care. However, the fashion theme, which has players purchasing pet clothes and accessories, creates a mild, underlying message of consumerism.
What's it about?
PETZ FASHION: DOGZ & CATZ is the latest entry in Ubisoft’s successful series of pet simulation games. It allows players to select and bond with a cat or a dog, adopt it as a pet, look after its basic needs (food, water, grooming, poop-scooping), and then enter it in fashion shows. Players can select and purchase a variety of clothing and accessories, including hats, collars, tops, bottoms, and shoes, and then customize these items in a simple editing module, changing colors and adding patterns. Goals -- dubbed “ribbonz” -- encourage players to play with and dress their animals in various ways, and result in reward “coinz” which can be used to buy more clothing, toys, and food.
Is it any good?
There’s not much in the way of innovation here, but Petz Fashion: Dogz & Catz is nonetheless a polished and fun little pet simulator. The digital dogs and cats—a couple dozen breeds in all—are cute, animate beautifully, and react authentically when petted and groomed via the DS’s touch screen and stylus interface. They’re fun to play with, too. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself verbally encouraging them to chase a ball or play with a string toy.
The only downside is that the titular fashions are a bit disappointing. The DS’s limited graphical capabilities are partially to blame (the clothing hasn’t much detail or nuance), but it’s mostly a matter of the styles themselves, which seem rudimentary and lack personality. Still, the sheer number of items and the ability to customize them ought to keep most kids busy trying ensemble permutations for weeks.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the responsibilities that come with pet ownership. If you have a pet, try discussing how accurately the game depicts activities such as feeding, grooming, and cleaning up after pets. If you don't own a pet, talk about the differences between virtual and real pet ownership (for example, when you grow bored with a live pet, you can’t just snap your DS shut and forget about it).