What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the Wappy Dog is both a tech toy and video game. The video game functions similarly to most other virtual pet games -- players can feed, groom, and pet the dog as well as play mini-games with it. What sets this game apart is the physical robotic toy dog that comes with the game. The toy connects wirelessly with the Nintendo DS, allowing communication between the two (for example, the toy dog makes barking sounds, which the game "translates" for players). The robotic toy stores information from the game and changes over time, making it appear as though it becomes more familiar with the player and adjusts its attitude accordingly. The game can also be played without the toy nearby.
What's it about?
WAPPY DOG consists of two elements - the Nintendo DS game and the physical Wappy Dog toy. The game is presented like a standard pet simulation game, offering players the full scale of pet customization options, giving it a name, playing games with it, etc. The robotic toy that links up with the game works to enhance the experience by giving players a physical object to make their work within the game seem more real. The dog moves and barks in reaction to events that happen within the game, though the interaction does not go far beyond that.
Is it any good?
Wappy Dog provides a great experience just for the sheer novelty of the robotic toy that reacts in real-time to the game. It should be noted that Wappy Dog's interaction with the game are limited. The toy makes sounds and limited movements in response to actions that happen in the game, but these are all pre-defined and not truly customizable by players. It is not a sophisticated robot, but it does not need to be. The point of the toy is to make the hard work and dedication of caring for a virtual pet seem more tangible and real, which this game/toy combo accomplishes. Aspiring pet owners will no doubt find the charm and novelty of this game well worth it.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about how much time should be spent tending to a virtual pet. How much game time is too much?
Does the inclusion of a physical toy make you feel more like you're caring for a real pet?
What isn't in this game that you need to take care of with a real, live pet dog?