Littlest Pet Shop isn’t original, but at least it’s not the Littlest Pet Shop of Horrors.
Hasbro’s Littlest Pet Shop toy line launched in the early ’90s, and the big-eyed bits of plastic remain popular with youngsters to this day. Now the tiny pet store is going digital with the launch of an iOS animal care title that bears the same name. Littlest Pet Shop is a decent accompaniment to the city-building action in Gameloft’s recent My Little Pony game, but it’s likewise meant for a young audience. Expect candy colors, tons of hearts, goopy eyes, and depth that you can measure with a popsicle stick.
Littlest Pet Shop is modeled after the cartoon that’s currently airing on The Hub. The game is populated by familiar characters, including Vinnie the gecko, Russell the hedgehog, and Zoe the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (Sidenote: Zoe has purple fur. Man, puppy mills are utterly unscrupulous).
The cartoon’s cast coaches you through the game as you build new animal homes along a horizontal stretch of sandy beach and invite new pets to settle in and play with each other. The homes you build all resemble Littlest Pet Shop playsets, which is pretty cute. Some of the critters you can adopt include the usual assortment of dogs and kitties, but you can also bring home zebras, monkeys, pandas, and other animals that risk transferring rabies or parasites if you interact with them in the real world.
Once your new friends are settled into one of your apartments, you can buy rooftop accessories that they can play with, like see-saws and pools. You can also interact with your pets personally by grooming them, feeding them, and playing games.
Most accessories can be bought with “Kibble,” the in-game currency. Kibble is quite plentiful, and can be gathered by encouraging animals to play with each other. You can acquire cooler, more exotic stuff with “Bling,” which you can buy. You can also earn little sums of Bling when you level up or accomplish another task.
Your animals level up as you play with them, which gradually unlocks new color variations. Unfortunately, only one animal color can exist in your city at a time, so if you want to keep your Ginger Corgi in your apartments, you need to keep the Cream Corgi stuffed under a table somewhere.
Littlest Pet Shop is, in a word, adorable. The animals squeal and dance, and are rendered with tiny bodies, huge heads, and shimmering eyes. There’s a decent amount of voice acting, and the cartoon’s original actors all appear to be on board.
Young fans of Littlest Pet Shop will go ape for the game (possibly some variety of sparkly, purple ape), though it’s probably too cutesy for anyone who’s under ten. There’s not a whole lot to do except build, play easy games with the animals, and collect Kibble. It’s fun for a while, but if you’re a grizzled veteran of social gaming, you’re not likely to browse this pet shop for long.