A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Petz: Nursery is designed to interface with other Petz games, beginning with Petz: Dogz Talent Show. It can be played without any other games, but part of its appeal is that baby animals from other games can be sent to Petz: Nursery to be cared for. This could result in children requesting that parents purchase additional Petz games. This one decidedly commercial element aside, it’s a wholesome game that teaches players to be good animal owners and how to “parent” a variety of baby animals. It’s not particularly complex and most goals are immediate; children with a first or second grade reading level should be able to figure out how to play and what to do next.
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What's it about?
Part of a deluge of Petz-branded games released by Ubisoft this fall, PETZ: NURSERY lets players play parent to a wide variety of baby mammals, from traditional pets such as Jack Russell terriers, Siamese cats, and golden hamsters to more exotic animals, including pandas, leopards, and polar bears. Animals begin life being fed by a bottle, which players must tip at just the right angle via the touch screen and stylus, and taking rides in a cart, which players pull and maneuver, trying not to spill their young and vulnerable passengers. Other activities include grooming, which involves picking bits of mucous and wax out of your animals’ fur coats, bouncing a balloon back and forth, and trying to get your pet to react to your movements by tapping an on-screen button. Players can also take photos and upload them to Petz.com, as well as receive newborn animals from other Petz games, including Petz: Dogz Talent Show.
Is it any good?
What’s here is fine. Kids will likely enjoy feeding and grooming their pets and watching them grow. The problem is, there’s not much to it, and much of it is very similar to what can be found in other Petz games. In fact, the cart riding minigame here is virtually identical in feel and control to the skateboarding minigame in Petz: Dogz Talent Show. Ditto for the food stirring game.
What’s more, the game’s shtick—that players can download newborn animals from certain other Petz games—seems almost to be proof that the primary reason for this game to exist is simply to make parents buy more Petz products so that they can interface with one another. There’s no reason the few bits of original play and functionality in this game couldn’t have been included in other Petz games to make them slightly deeper experiences. As is, Nursery comes off as a product designed to lure unsuspecting players and parents into buying yet another Petz product.
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.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the difference between human and animal babies. How are their requirements the same? How are they different? Animals tend to mature much faster than people. Why do you think that is?
Families can also discuss whether this game should have been a separate release in the Petz series, or if its functionality ought to have been included in other Petz games. Does it seem complete? Does it feel as though there is enough here to keep players interested?
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