Developer: Triniti Interactive
Price: $2.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★★☆☆
Gameplay Rating: ★½☆☆☆

iPhone Integration Rating: ★★½☆☆
User Interface Rating: ★★★☆☆

Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★½☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆

There’s a lot to say about iPuppy World. On the surface, it looks great: slick graphics, great animations, and a plethora of activities. But iPuppy World just doesn’t hit the sweet spot that makes pet simulations so appealing. There’s not enough interactivity, and too much time spent staring at the screen. Yes, your five-year-old might squeal over the cute puppies prancing on the screen, but I became utterly bored far too quickly.

IMG_0063When you start the app, you get to pick out a puppy, of course! You can choose its gender, name, and breed; the current breeds include huskies, schnauzers, dalmatians, Labradors, chihuahuas, and toy poodles. Then, you’re introduced to your house, which depicts your new pet frolicking around the room.

Tapping the picture of the dog’s head in the top-right corner reveals the menu options. In the bottom-right, there’s a door icon that lets you visit other puppies or take walks. Next is a tennis ball icon, which lets you play with toys, and a T-shirt icon for dressing up your pet. On the right, there are icons for bathing and feeding your pet, as well as one for putting it to sleep. Tapping a different dog’s head icon at the top will let you see your pet’s status.

Here’s my problem with iPuppy World: all of these various options might sound enticing, but in reality, there’s hardly anything to do. “Playing” with your puppy involves tossing a toy into the room and watching. “Bathing” means just rubbing your finger over your dog. Not exactly the most thrilling mini-game, but it’s actually the most involved one. Feeding your pet? Sit there and watch. Take your dog for a walk? Sit back and watch the linear, boring sidewalk. Put your pet to sleep? Even worse: you’re expected to stare at a black screen! There’s not even sound effects for your snoring puppy! Plus, when an activity is designed to increase some status variable (hunger, thirst, cleanliness), you have to pause and visit the status menu. Without a progress bar, the tedious tasks are even more tedious. The best part is dressing up your pet, but that requires money…which isn’t easy to come by in this game.

IMG_0059Visiting other puppies isn’t exactly thrilling, either. You can sniff around their room in hopes of finding something (isn’t that theft?) and you can exchange “badges” to prove that you’ve seen them. But again, interactivity is extremely limited.

Though it’s listed under “games,” iPuppy barely has any game-like elements whatsoever. The focus on pretending that you have a puppy, but you don’t get to play with it…or train it…or choose where to walk…or anything like that. Children will be amazed by the graphics, sure, but I can’t help but feel that iPuppy’s only draw is the eye candy. I would recommend waiting for a better pet simulator…ngmoco’s upcoming “Touch Pets,” perhaps.

Come on, Triniti! I loved your other game, Ancient War–why is iPuppy packed full of so much tedious fluff?

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