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Littlest Petshop draws on a variety of previous DS titles. The creature care elements of Nintendogs DS, combine with the mini games of Super Mario 64 DS and the visitor attraction of Viva Pinata: Pocket Paradise DS.
Strategy games provide experiences that require quick thinking, and forward planning from the gamer. They combine the unfolding tactics of classic games like chess, with more recent board games such as Risk. Usually focusing on a theatre of war context, players enjoy the tactical overview of the battle these games provide.
Littlest Petshop combines a number of genres around the central hub of a strategy game that focus on caring for a growing collection of petshop animals. As the player chooses, plays with, feeds and generally cares for their pets they gain access to a series of mini games. Once achieved these can be accessed from the main menu in the minigame arcade. These parallel experiences (pet care and minigames) then continues through the experience.
It is the strategy element that is more fleshed out. The care and attention of the various pets enables you to access new areas and buildings as well as purchasing equipment and accessories. This part fo the game also has the better visuals. The tv cut scenes, garden environment and the pets themselves are all believable and characterful.
Young players wll be attracted to Littlest Petshop because of the access it grants them to the world of pets. Put the game in the hands of those who are not old enough to care for cats, dogs and rabbits themselves and their eyes litterally light up. From the first view of the store and selection of initial pet friends, to the train ride they take to your home the game creates an experience that is both cute and full of wonder.
Like other animal care games, keeping track of your distratced creatures can take alot of time. The game does to a good job of letting the player do as much or as little of this as they want to.
This is a game aimed at very young players. Accordingly the naviagtion and games are all suitable for those starting school. Those towards the younger end of the spectrum may need a little help with the written content.
Intermediate players who are a little older may find the game a little simplistic to provide a lasting experience. The mini games should still be enjoyable (particularly for multiplayers) but the requirement to grapple with the main pet care thread of the game may become a bit of a grind.
Expert players are likely to quickly balk at the child-tailored nature of Littlest Petshop. And indeed their instincts are likely to be right. They will be much better served by Animal Crossing: Wild World DS.
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