If your child loves the plastic animals of Littlest Pet Shop and wished that they could do more than their imagination already allowed them, then they may enjoy Littlest Pet Shop for both Wii and Nintendo DS. We got the chance to review both and as much as we love animals, both versions of these games are strictly for the kids.
Back when I was a kid, we had the original Nintendo.Â Somewhere among the Mario Brothers and Tetris games, I owned The Little Mermaid.Â It was a very silly, kind of pointless, ultra girly attempt at a game. Even in my “I want to be a princess when I grow up” phase, it was no King Koopa.Â Nintendo Wii’s Littlest Pet Shop is an extreme version of my generation’s girly game.
This game begins by choosing a pet from an adoption center. You are given three tickets and with these tickets you adopt animals and then head to the Pet Plaza by train. The cartoon animals to choose from are so precious( Over 30 different pets are available) that I can’t help but instantly enjoy what I see.These pets are wide-eyed, pastel and bouncy…too cute for words! There are a few animals you wouldn’t find in your average pet shop, like a penguin, but it’s nice to imagine being able to keep one as a pet.Â Â You then name your animal of choice and enter the first of four ‘worlds':Â pet plaza, jungle, winter wonderland and garden. Everything in these worlds are pink, fluffy and seemingly sugar coated with bright flowers and blue skies. You will get to shop at the Meow Market, or dress up your pets at the Salon and as you progress in the game you will get updates on new items available in the Meow Market.Â Younger players, which this game is geared too will find this appealing, but for me, it was a bit of an overkill.Â With a game system as advanced as Wii, I like my graphics to be realistic and dimensional, but this was not the case.
From there, you walk around your world, enter stores so that you can dress your animal in bows, hats and sunglasses (something that I personally don’t encourage in reality).Â Your pet can also earn kibble coins by
playing mini-games( 16 mini-games to be exact), but those games didn’t seem to be much of a challenge.Â With the coins, you can purchase other pets and more accessories.
Maneuvering your pet through the worlds is fairly easy. The game occasionally requires you to use the D-pad, A button andÂ B button but not often. Unlike other Wii games, the hand remote is just tilted side to side without much force. This can be slightly dull, but a nice change from not being able to keep up with the arm motions of some games that are almost physically impossible.Â There was definitely no next day pulled
muscles with this little game. Everything is told to you every step of the way, like leading a child by the nose so you can never not push the wrong button.
I can completely understand the appeal of The Little Pet Shop. You have 100 different accessory and clothing items to choose from that would make AKC pedigrees jealous. It is sweet, clever and visually stimulating.Â However I can only imagine a child’s short attention span loosing interest very quickly.Â Nothing
about this game is very demanding, but has definite short term appeal.
I’m amazed when a game is ported from one console to another how different they can be. I expected the Littlest Pet Shop to be more of the same as the Wii version but I was surprised that it wasn’t and in someways it was a little bit better. Like the Wii version, the premise of the game is to adopt pets by completing different games and earning kibble. When you earn enough kibble you can go into the adoption center and adopt new pets or you can go into the Meow Market and buy a range of accessories for your little puppy, kitten, etc…
The first game that I came across is the color challenge. It seemed harmless enough, you pick a pet to color in and the pattern is given on the screen above. You use your stylus as a crayon to color in the the cute animals, which was a disaster. It is very hard to stay in the lines, the game is very very sensitive and the pets are very detailed which made it even harder to color in detailed areas such as eyes or tails. On easy mode there is no time limit, but on medium and hard there is a time limit. On hard it averages a minute and a half for each pet to be completed. I was not able to complete one. Another game which I did enjoy was Bubble Juggle. It takes place over a fountain where you take the stylus and press it down on the touch screen to watch a bubble inflate. Kibble falls from above and you have to let the inflated bubbles keep the kibble from falling into the fountain. It was challenging and does increase in difficulty as the boards get harder.
The controls are very basic and mostly the use of the stylus is required. Although you can have a choice how you would like to control your pet through the garden (map) you can use the D-pad as well as the stylus. The controls during some of the games get harder where the stylus pad gets too sensitive and makes it hard to control the game (like in the color challenge). Just like in the Wii version the graphics and music are just very bubbly and happy and are geared towards the younger gamer.
One of the great features of the game is that 4 players can play wirelessly. There is also alot of instruction and reading in between games, another similarity between both versions. The gamer is always aware of what is going on and what needs to be done for an upcoming task or game.
Conclusion Littlest Pet Shop for Wii and Nintendo DS
As much as I like animals and cute pastel backgrounds the only people who will like either version of this game will be children who truly love Littlest Pet Shop. However, kids are very intelligent these days and I think this game doesn’t give them enough credit. The constant tutorials at each step of the game and the frustration with some of the mini games would have a child as well as me throwing a temper tantrum and walking away. If you are looking for a game that holds your child’s interest for more than a day then this game is not for them unless they are obsessed with playing dress up with cute puppies, bunnies, and penguins. However, I will give props to the game because it encourages adoption of animals and that is always a good thing! Littlest Pet Shop for Wii retails for $39.95 and Littlest Pet Shop: Garden for Nintendo DS retails for $29.95.
The Good: Encourages pet adoption and being kind to animals. The upbeat and child friendly graphics are bound to make children happy. VERY easy controls.
The Bad: Frustrating mini-games and insistent tutorials could get on your nerves. Either version will probably not get replayed after spending a few hours with it.