After my last game review, I decided to go on a virtual pet gaming binge, this time for mobile games. When you think about the 90´s Tamagotchi was the original mobile game. It was played on a portable device that you check occasionally when you received a notification.
So, it is only logical for this game genre to be ported into the phone market. And boy are there tons of them. For the sake of those who like nostalgia, or simulation games in general, I decided to compile a list. I´m only going to talk about games that fit that 90s retro feel.
In order to make it here they only need to follow three requirements: 2d/pixel pets, must have an evolution system, and play an homage to the concept (like raising an alien, battle monsters etc..)
Here are my top favorites to check out:
I´m gonna start with my top favorites on this list. Pakka Pets feels a lot like an updated version of the Tamagotchi pet, due to its cute pixelated designs.
You are given a pet to raise, that takes on different forms depending on how you take care of it. You have a room to decorate and an entire village that you can send your old pets to live in. You can visit a town where you can help local pet npcs acquire items and unlock new areas. In order to complete some of the quests you can use the crafting system, you can simply use them to care for your pet.
Connecting the game with your Facebook account will backup your game and allow to play the game on different devices.
Microtransactions: While the game is not completely riddled with ads, there is one minigame (the cinema game) that requires you to watch one. The game also offers game currency in exchange for real money and even certain eggs. The game can be played without this, but keep this in mind since this game also appeals to kids.
A virtual pet with a twist, instead of just caring for one device pet, you care for several! You play as the employee of Noa,inc that sells creatures called noa. The point of the game is for you to raise them until they are ready to be adopted. You then receive points that you can use to decorate your avatar, unlock designs for your devices and new locations.
This last is important because you will need to explore different places in order to discover new eggs. The pets themselves do not evolve, but the variety in egg types make up for it with the egg types. Sometimes even the same egg will give a new species, may this game replayable. Mind you if you don´t care for your noas properly, they will die, and the game gives you bonus rewards if you managed to raise several noas in the same device in a row without death.
Microtransactions: you can buy healing items and revive your pets with real currency. While you can also get these items by watching an ad, and gameplay, it can be a pain in the ass if you´re the type of player who let´s them die frequently like I did. I do also have a problem in starting a new device since it brings up the in-game store every time it happens. I don´t if it´s a game bug, since i was able to restart it for free before, so keep that in mind.
If you happen to be a Lovecraft fan and always wanted have an eldritch horror as a friend, this app is for you. You get to care for it, raise to different stages (infant to godhood) dress him up, and invoke other gods to give you gifts.
And if it gets upset you can feed it a bunch of cultists. And it´s all done with cute pixelated graphics. There are also some fun minigames. For example, you have a card rpg rogue game where you fight monsters.
There two versions of this app, original and the sequel, the latter having more colorful graphics and improvements on the gameplay. A must if you like cute games with a morbid streak.
Microtransactions: If I can recall correctly you can unlock some skins and outfits with real money, otherwise the game is fully playable without them.
90s virtual pet meets Pokemon Mystery Dungeon. You play as a rescuer that navigates dungeons in search of new eggs to hatch and raise. Unlike other games, your pets evolve by leveling up instead of growing over time. You can take your pet to explore dungeons, battle monsters and find loot.
The battle system is timed, you need to tap at the right time to attack, elemental weakness also play a huge role. Besides dungeon exploring you have boss battle missions, you must defeat all the monsters in the area before unlocking the boss, and you get special rewards if you fufill certain requirements, like doing the mission without using healing items, or using a pet of certain element types etc.
However you need to feed them and give them medicine, otherwise they will die, but the game gives the option of freezing them if you´re gonna be a while without playing, which I think should an option in these kinds of game.
Like Pokemon you can also trade or send pets you don´t want to other players, there is even a random trade. But despite having several pet kinds, you can expand your rescue home up to 12 times, or so the game plays. I´m thinking of raising some of them to a complete adult stage before trading to complete the dunpets digipedia.
Funny enough it does have a sequel, called dunpet colors, but it downplays the virtual 90s pet aspect in favor of a more traditional pokemon game, and might still be in development.
Microtransactions: The game offers a pro version that offers cloud saving ( which is weird since most games offer it for free), an exculsive mission, and a hard to obtain egg, that can still be obtained through normal gameplay. The good news is that it doens´t have intrusive ads, and most of these features can simply be ignored.
This a 90s virtual pet game at it´s most basic, you adopt and care for a pet, and it will grow in real-time. It can take different forms according to its life change, and you can unlock different family lines.
The gameplay is a bit simplistic when compared to the ones that I just mentioned. But´s it great for those with busy lives, and it´s not a very demanding pet. It also has a PC/MAC version, although I prefer the mobile one to get that keychain pet feel. True to form you can download a game manual, its explains the basic and comes with cute hand-drawn art, that reminds me of virtual pet games of old
Microtransactions: None, it´s got no in-game shop, pro version or ads. This is a full free to play indie game. However, you can support the creator through the itch.io page and pay whatever you want.
Disclaimer: None of the games in this article are play-to-earn or crypto games. I make reviews of all kinds of games, so keep that in mind.
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