It's hard to ignore adorable virtual pets, with their big innocent eyes and abnormally large heads. At least, that's what we thought to ourselves when we were at the Electronic Arts press event in San Diego. Littlest Pet Shop: Online is a virtual world in which young girls between the ages of six and 12 can mingle, play games, and collect a wide range of items.
Who's Making This Game: The Littlest Pet Shop brand belongs to EA, and it looks like it will continue to expand, given that more than 2 million girls were playing last year's Littlest Pet Shop.
What The Game Looks Like: The game is cartoony and cute and has a lot of pastel colors. It's visually pleasing and charming, especially with areas called "Waggington" or "Pawtopia."
What There Is To Do: LPS will be in open beta beginning August 1. That is also the date when retail stores will carry LPS stuffed animals, which you can buy and then bring them into your online virtual community by entering a code attached to the toy. Once you have your virtual pet, you can play minigames that are located throughout the town and talk to non-player characters to learn more about what to do. You'll earn kibble coins, the in-game currency, when you play the different minigames.
You can access a restricted chat, which will have preset phrases, or you can use free text, which will be moderated to keep the environment safe for kids. Friend requests must be approved before you can add someone to your list. As you go on adventures and collect stuff, you can compile it all into a colorful scrapbook and eventually share it with friends. The sharing feature will not be available at launch but will be included at a later time.
How The Game Is Played: Using the mouse, you'll control your pet and walk around town, talking to NPCs, accessing minigames, and even doing some shopping. We watched a demo of Low Tide Treasures, a tile-matching game that is similar to the Pogo game Mahjong Safari. Your controls are handled with a mouse, so it's relatively straightforward to move around and click. There are three difficulty settings when you initially choose a game, but your character will level as you play so that the games get progressively harder. This is to accommodate the fact that a wide age range will be playing.
What They Say: The web-based Littlest Pet Shop world is a girl’s gateway to fun and exciting online games and tons of activities, tools to customize and play with her favorite Littlest Pet Shop pets, and daily events to connect with friends and make new ones too.
What We Say: It's difficult to ignore that this brand is growing at an extremely rapid pace. The video game series has sold more than 2 million copies since last October. It's free-to-play on the PC, but if you pay a premium (which hasn't been announced), you'll have access to more features and the ability to use your kibble coins to buy clothing, food, and accessories. Littlest Pet Shop: Online will be available to play mid-September.