At a time where first-party Vita games are almost non-existent, it really shocked gamers that this is the type of game that Sony are offering up. In the handheld space, the Vita is not seen as a casual gamers device at all so the announcement of PlayStation Vita Pets was out of left field.
Believe it or not, PlayStation Vita Pets has a story. The game takes place in the kingdom of Castlewood. Once ruled by a king and his loyal dog, chaotic invaders overtook the kingdom. As a new resident of Castlewood, it is your goal to recover the king’s treasures. Whilst the story is quite lame and basic, it’s good to see that there is an overall purpose to the game. This is something that games like Nintendogs have lacked.
PlayStation Vita Pets is full of colour and vibrancy and this is what makes the game a mild success.
The stunning environments and pet models really give the game character and allow you to fall in love with your pet to a certain extent. Animations are smooth and believable however the voice-overs are extremely creepy and the game would’ve been better off had they been left out.
The game commences almost identically to that of Nintendogs. You are presented with a choice of four different puppy breeds. Your choice of dog will reflect the gender and voice of your furry little pooch. As mentioned above, your dog talks and I found this to be a huge deal breaker in the game. In a game that’s all about simulation, I found it hard to relate to a virtual animal that has an incredibly annoying voice. I really felt that this almost broke the immersion completely from the get-go.
It’s not at first clear what the overall goal of the game is. Upon reaching your home you can partake in activities such as bathing and feeding your pup. It’s not until you start buying items that you can partake in more complex activities like Frisbee throwing and obstacle courses.
Skills such as tug, digging and fetch can be trained at three different levels and are vital to progressing through the game. Leaving your house will present you with two doors. One leads to outside and the other leads to the Frisbee area. As with Nintendogs, you can teach your dog tricks. Doing things with your pup in the game will earn you buddy points, which you can use to unlock your tricks. Tricks are performed with the Vita’s microphone and work quite well.
Later in the game are puzzles, which you need to get through in order to find the king’s treasure. Puzzles vary in difficulty and involve a range of things such as traversing mazes and sitting down on stones in a particular order. They go hand-in-hand with your skills and what levels you can partake in are based off how skillful your pet is.