Without any tangible overall objective, meandering through the virtual world in this popular role-playing game can potentially eat up a hefty amount of time. Kids get some direction from a task list in Adopt Me! that encourages them to perform actions like going to an ice cream shop. Arrows appear on the ground to suggest a path to the location, and once they complete the task, they'll earn Bucks, an in-app currency that can be spent on things like furniture for their home. In addition to decorating their digs and buying new outfits for their virtual self, they can also adopt a pet by agreeing to tote an egg around until it hatches, revealing a puppy or other new furry friend. The process isn't immediate; kids will first need to perform some related actions, such as feeding it and helping it sleep. But the overall waiting period for your animal to hatch isn't too drawn out.
The pet aspect is an interesting element, and it can also help kids practice being responsible, since they need to feed and otherwise care for the animals before and after they emerge. While the game features some boxy Roblox graphics, there are also admirable design elements kids will discover as they check out new areas, such as a frozen lake they'll sway and slide on as they land atop the ice. Yet, even with a task list, Adopt Me! can feel a bit aimless at times. Kids are asked to do things that don't always seem to be particularly important -- and even though they complete the task, it could remain on their list. In general, the navigation can feel a little cumbersome sometimes, requiring kids to back up and otherwise jockey around to get past objects in their way, and the game can have some glitches. The arrows that illuminate your intended path to a destination, for instance, disappear periodically, and a chat window showing real-time conversations between other players in the upper left portion of the screen can obscure things you need to interact with or see. Bucks are doled out fairly frequently, just for playing -- a message pops up, letting you know you have funds to cash out. But the amount you earn may still not be enough to fund the many things you can buy, since most of the clothes and home items cost money. Actions such as speeding up the egg's hatching require in-app currency -- and there are other subtle pushes to buy things within the gameplay. The interactions kids could have with other players, though, are a larger concern. Users don't need to friend each other to connect. Almost immediately after playing, kids may start receiving messages from other people asking for money. As in a number of games, trading items with people you don't know can also pose a potential risk of getting ripped off. Between the overall time investment playing can involve and the questionable contact with other users, even though Adopt Me! may look like a cute kids' game, it's probably a better fit for teens or an older audience that's interested in a virtual pet experience.