The appeal of virtual pet games is obvious: you get all the cute and cuddly, but without any of the mess or financial obligations. I still remember playing the old Petz games on my computer when I was little. A few months ago ngmoco brought the basic premise of the Petz games to the iPhone with Touch Pets Dogs; now, however, cat lovers can finally join in the fun.
Touch Pets Cats, like Touch Pets Dogs, is a free app that lets you adopt the pet of your dreams. It then tasks you with caring for and playing with your newfound companion. In addition to caring for your kitten's basic needs, you can play with your cat using a variety of toys, have playdates with other cats, and spend time hunting for money to spruce up your house. Unlike Touch Pets Dogs, however, there are no careers; one can only assume that cats are too proud to stoop to such levels.
Touch Pets Cats continues ngmoco's "freemium" strategy—the app itself is free, but those willing to shell out real money for "catnip" don't have to spend as long doing repetitive tasks. As a consequence of it being free, you also can't play constantly. Hmm - ngmoco, we're on to you.
If virtual cats tickle your fancy, Touch Pets Cats is now available in the App Store for "free." But please, if you're handing this to your four-year-old, set the Parental Controls to disallow in-app purchases. The last thing you need is to realize that you've just been charged $50 for some digital "catnip."