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Children’s Software That Matters – Pet Pals for the Nintendo Wii


One of the greatest disappointments of the current video and
computer market is the lack of compelling software for children. While a few
standouts exists such as Nintendo’s Brain Age line, or the Lego Star Wars
series, far too many games merely exploit a well known license, or offer
sub-par gameplay. When compiling the weekly New Release list, we often
encounter a glut of derivative animal ‘simulators’ with names like The Dog
Island
, Petz: Horsez 2, or Puppy Luv.

So imagine our trepidation when we visited the Legacy Interactive offices while attending E3. Legacy was showing Pet Pals, a veterinary
game designed for eight to twelve-year old girls. While we expected another
imitative pet-sim, we found an interesting, thoughtful game that deserves
attention.


Upon starting the game, we noticed the quality, high
resolution graphics. While many Wii games pale in comparison to the HD
counterparts, Pet Pals offered a detailed representation of a vet’s waiting
room, and examination table. While the animals were currently motionless in the
build demoed, our representatives promised us that each pet would move with
life-like accuracy in the final product.

The title strives for an authenticity missing from most
children’s software. The producer mentioned that each of the game’s thirty
cases were written by practicing veterinarians. Graphically, the title reaches
for realism rather than the typical candy-coated cuteness. Additionally,
players are introduced to scientific method; after an ailment is given, you
systematically check for additional symptoms, before giving a diagnosis.


Pet Pals gameplay seems modeled after the Trauma Center
games, with the tedious stretches of dialogue thankfully removed.  We watched as the producer used the Wiimote
as a magnifying glass to inspect a dog’s fur. Other mini-games included
twisting the controller to vary an x-ray wavelength, and then snapping a
picture with the “A” button, when the skeletal frame is focused.  Included in the game is a veterinary trivia
game that doesn’t pull any punches- we missed both multiple choice questions we
were shown.

Pat Pals is shaping up to be remarkable piece of children’s
software. It’s clear the goal of the title is not to create a watered down,
sloppy title to capitalize on the Wii’s popularity and demographics, but rather
to offer younger players a fair challenge. Let’s hope this game doesn’t get
lost in the excess of animal themed Wii titles when it is released this holiday
season.

About Robert Allen

With over 35 years of gaming experience, Robert 'DesertEagle' Allen is Tech-Gaming's resident worrier/warrior who spends his days teaching at three colleges and his nights devoted to JRPGs.

54 comments

  1. Hey, when did the site turn into whattheyplay.com?!?!

  2. As a father of two, thank you. I’ll be keeping an eye on this game.

  3. I agree; there’s only a few kids game my 8 year old is interested it. Mainstream software catches here eye. She was interested in the pics for this simulation, though.

  4. Whats with the wig on the guys in the third pic? He’s got no forehead!

  5. Wow, although the pics look rough, it’s nice to see a compnay that cares about the quality of children’s software, unlike Activision and Ubisoft!

  6. Cute, but not my cup o tea.

  7. Do you have to ‘put them down’ if you lose?

  8. Thanks for the info. I can’t find much in the way of preview or reviews for quality kid’s software.

    Every site want to sell me their own creations.

  9. As a mother of two (5 and 7), I’d like to see more children’s software coverage.

  10. That parrot looks very real. The guys looks like bad dolls.

  11. Seems cool, even tho I don’t have any rugrats. If I did, I might get them this.

  12. Thank you for the preview

  13. Dissecting animals seems cool to me.

  14. Bah, for the kids. Gimme a sc4 review, please!

  15. Graphics range from great to bad.

  16. I bet I know what wrong with the cat on the bottom, he’s too fat.

  17. Can the bird bite the player? If you’ve ever tried to examine a bird, this can be tricky. I had a Parrot with a wing problem, and got a chunk out of my hand removed.

  18. Is the clock on the wall, accurate. I don’t know why, but I always like in-game clocks match the Wii’s time settings.

  19. I have a daughter that might like this game.

  20. Can’t go wrong with modeling your game after Trauma center. And I agree- waaaayyy too much chat in those games. It’s like a soap opera.

  21. According to the graphics there looks like a scalpel and scissors function. Does that mean children are supposed to perform surgery on animals? That seems a little creepy.

    This is how kids grow up to become Marilyn Manson.

  22. That’s what vets do.

  23. Hi, the best place to bookmark for this and future great kids games is: http://www.legacyinteractive.com

  24. A veterinary simulation for kids? Sounds great, but I’m sure children want a simulation of my occupation- high school math teacher.

  25. Ha-ha… must be someting in the ‘print’ and I can assure you the game is not like this, all characters in the game are terrific…

  26. Shake wiimote to use quadratic formula?

  27. Hi, this is perfect for her (8yrs), I’m sure…

  28. Yikes…! no there is no ‘putting any animals down’ in this game.

  29. Hi, this is just the pic on the site here and the characters and environments look great.

  30. No, the animals won’t be biting…!

  31. Very nice observation! Actually this is not as simple as you would think. To get Nintendo approval one has to pass a submission test. There are several lang. created and the game is delivered in several timezones so it’s sort of a lot of programming for a little thing!

  32. Yes they will but it’s not creepy at all, no gore or anything like that and this will be an “E” (for everyone) rated game.

  33. I have a son, that may like this. I hope they put levels of difficulty in.

  34. Yes, Trauma Center is very “Japanese” and frankly annoying to some of us Westerners… this is better!

  35. Not only will she like this but the ‘head-fake’ of these games are that your kids are learning as well…!

  36. The article sort of glossed over the Trivia Game… one of my favorites in terms of ‘party-game’. That is, there’s a TON of animal trivia and it’s always fun doing that with a group… Sort of like “Cash Cab” on Discovery!

  37. Good to see some decent software for the kiddies.

  38. You sound like one of the producers- it’s OK to not be anonymous; in fact, it’s better to be upfront on who you are. We won’t bite (unlike the animals)

  39. The wii has an internal clock; just read that! No need to worry about international time and all that.

  40. Why hide behind the anonymous tag? Give us your name; if you’re going to post.

  41. To be fair, I don’t think people will buy the game for the trivia; I’d buy this so my kids could learn something in an interactive, playable environment. They have little interest in trivia games. I tried to be them into the Cranium Wii game, to no avail.

  42. That’s a company site, no preview nor independent reviews, there.

  43. Since, when are producers allowed to come in and spam the comment board with their fluff? I really like this site, but this has to stop.

  44. Having game dev come aboard and creative a dialogue is a great thing, I think. I just hope they’ll be forthright in who is leaving the messages.

  45. that’s so wonderful. for kids its great.

  46. Cute game, I can only recommend it for kids.

  47. Wow, that must be a cool game. And I’m sure the girls will like it anormously. As for me I’m fond of Age Psychology (by the way, you can find a lot of very interesting books at the files search engine http://rapid4me.com ) and I know for sure that children will adore this game. In this age they like to treat pets. And it is very rarely that they have such an opportunity in real life that is why it perfect that they will be able to do it virtually. The only thing I hope this game will serious and children won’t think that it is a game and neglect animals.

  48. Is there any good software available for children to improve their knowledge?

  49. Pat Pals is shaping up to be remarkable piece of children’s software.

  50. Wow, that must be a cool game. And I’m sure the girls will like it anormously. As for me I’m fond of Age Psychology (by the way, you can find a lot of very inter full download rapidshare

  51. I hope it has an user’s manual, because I didn’t get how the girls will figure out what the pet’s disease is. It’s a great game, I already imagine that some of them will become Tucson veterinarians.

  52. Hi, I agree with every statement that you have made in the post and I really appreciate your effort in gathering up the information. Thanks for it.

  53. Why am I so afraid of depth?

  54. it is good for my sister
    thank you