Saturday, November 22, 2014

Game Review: Petz Beach for Nintendo 3DS

Finding a video game that my kids can share, with an E (for Everyone) rating so nobody is excluded, and that is entertaining enough so that no one is rolling her eyes...well that can be a bit of a challenge. Since my kids range from Kindergarten to 8th grade, there is plenty they can't share, but I love when we discover something they can pass back and forth, talking and offering tips and advice to one another, whether in the car or curled up on the couch on long, cold Saturday afternoons. Animal games are generally a good bet, although some are too juvenile for the big kids. Petz Beach for Nintendo 3DS is one such game that my 5-year old, 8-year old, and 11-year old all have fun with (the 13-year old is too busy these days for video games), and I will freely admit that I have been amusing myself with it as well.

In case you're not familiar with Petz, it is a popular franchise that has sold tens of millions of copies worldwide. The basic premise is to care for pets while exploring the game's environment (in this case, the beach), talking to characters, finding and buying various items, and going on quests. The game expands as you go along, and it even changes with the seasons. Today it was snowing at the beach while my kids and I laid in my warm, comfy bed and took turns playing Petz Beach. Another similar game is Petz Countryside, which is the same type of game but with a country setting rather than the beach.

In Petz Beach, your character has a pet and a home, and can walk around its seaside community. You can train your dog to find different things, and go on quests for the other characters. For each completed quest you are rewarded, either with a special item or with coins. Coins are used to purchase items in the shop, including necessities for your pet like food and water. When you have enough coins, you can visit the adoption agency to add more pets to your family. With enough happy points, you can expand your community and gaming experience.

So far, I have found the quests to be simple enough for the kids to be able to do them without help (and without frustration), and the interface to be fairly self-explanatory and easy. It does take some time to earn enough coins to adopt another pet, or enough happy points to expand the village, but if it was too easy that wouldn't be much fun.
Giving our pet some water at home.

What did my kids think? Lucy (age 8) and Mathilda (5 years old) like the pet care aspect the best, while Connor (age 11), like me, really enjoys the adventures - going on quests and finding items. I'm a sucker for this type of game. I played for awhile for "research purposes", and I'll be sure I know where I can find the 3DS while the kids are at school (wink wink). We almost have enough happy points to expand, and I'm anxious to see what will be added to our village next!
On a quest - sniffing something out

Besides simple entertainment, Petz Beach also offers learning opportunities. There are over 50 animals in the game, and through its partnership with Encyclopaedia Britannica, players will learn about the various creatures as they encounter them throughout the game. Additionally, the game offers the option to connect with friends who are also playing, but we don't know anyone else with Petz Beach yet so we didn't play around with this function.
Meeting a friend in the village

Published by Ubisoft and released on October 14, 2014, Petz Beach is a pet simulation and adventure game available for the Nintendo 3DS system and rated E for everyone. It's good, clean fun, and you'll never have to worry if your child is exposed to something he shouldn't be seeing or learning about. There is no violence, no bad or even questionable language, and nothing scary. If you're looking for a fun Christmas gift for the young boy or girl on your shopping list, or something your children of various ages can share, Petz Beach would be a great choice. You can purchase Petz Beach on Amazon.
Searching for shells at the beach

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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