Australian Council on Children and the Media

PS Vita Pets: Puppy Parlour - Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide

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Short takes

Puppy Parlour is an interactive pet game where players may care for, and play with, visiting pets at their parlour.

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No gambling content found in the levels played

This review of PS Vita Pets: Puppy Parlour was completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 20 June 2014.

About the app

This section contains details about the app provided by an ACCM Reviewer.

Name of app: PS Vita Pets: Puppy Parlour
Developed by: Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide
Platform reviewed: Apple App Store, Google Play
Cost: Free
Developer’s suggested age: Google Play Store: Everyone; iTunes Store: 4+
Gambling content advice: No gambling content found in the levels played

ACCM review

This review of PS Vita Pets: Puppy Parlour contains the following information:

The level to which the game was reviewed

This review focuses on levels 1-10.

App description

Created as a prelude to the Playstation game Vita Pets, Puppy Parlour is an interactive pet-based app that previews the puppies which will feature in the PS game. It involves conducting basic pet care tasks, as well as playing games and activities with the pets. The objective is to earn money and experience points. The skills required to play are mostly spatial/visual, reaction times and motor skills, and are used when playing the interactive games.

Reviewers comments

When players first open the app, they are greeted by a small puppy who is capable of talking. He says ‘Wow, nice place you’ve got here.’ It is then explained through text along the bottom of the screen that the puppy (named Diesel) has come to the player’s parlour, and to please take good care of him. It offers the players additional instructions, stating: ‘Every few hours, a new puppy will visit your parlour. Keep your pups happy with chores and activities to earn dollars and XP. Use dollars to upgrade your parlour and buy new dress-up items. Use your parlour’s laptop to gift items to Playstation Network friends.’ Players begin with $2500 of in-game currency. There is also a timer underneath the dog’s name which indicates how much time (of the approximately 2-3 hours) is left for the player to spend with that particular puppy.

Within the main household environment, players are able to click on and explore individual items in order to use, play with, or upgrade them. For instance, clicking on the shelving in the corner of the room will explain that players are currently on Level 1 shelving, and they may upgrade it to improve their parlour and earn more dollars and XP points. However, upgrading will cost $1500 of in-game currency. Money can be obtained by playing through the games and reaping financial rewards.

Within the room, there are many games and activities for your pup to play. For instance, players may engage their dogs in ‘Bubble Pop’ to earn money – here, they swipe the screen left and right to catch green bubbles flying through the air, and try to avoid the red ones. Playing games like this will ensure that players earn points on a variety of levels – for instance, they may earn Parlour Bonuses, Happiness Bonuses, and Item Bonuses. Players may also play games such as Walkies, where players shake their device up and down in order to take in-game steps to earn points. A smartphone user may earn points this way by having the player keep the app open whilst they walk around in reality, much like a pedometer. Additionally, the game includes accelerometer games such as Snack Balance, where players tilt their device left and right in order to keep a small snack balanced on their puppy’s nose.

It is possible to dress up a puppy also, and to use in-game cash to buy new items of clothing and accessories. Players may also swipe across the screen with a brush in order to brush their dog and take care of them. They can also fill their pet’s food and water bowls, and puppies will inform players when they are thirsty or hungry. Players may also let the dog out to go to the bathroom – before the pup exists the house, it says ‘Uh, could you turn away pal? Thanks.’

After the time elapses, one puppy goes home and another arrives. Players receive a care bonus and a new puppy to take care of.

The app does not pose any overt risks to children, but may have positive implications in regards to teaching them about the responsibility of caring for animals and pets, and the realistic actions that need to be taken in order to do so.

Gambling

No gambling content was found during the review.

Advertising and product placement

The app contains continual advertising for the Playstation version of the game – after any in-app games are played, a full-screen advertisement appears which must be manually closed. It promotes the game by saying that players will ‘explore a world of treasure, mystery and long-lost legends with your own talking dog PS Vita System’.

Game playing behaviour which may be of concern to some parents

No game playing behaviours which may concern parents were found during the review.

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Content is age appropriate for children this age

Some content may not be appropriate for children this age. Parental guidance recommended

Content is not age appropriate for children this age

Gambling content advice

Simulated casino style gambling. Not suitable for minors

Contains some elements of gambling. Some content is not recommended for minors. Parental guidance recommended

No gambling content found in the levels played

About games and gambling

Most games contain elements of risk, chance and knowledge, that is why they are fun to play. There is growing concern about the impacts of simulated gambling games on the health and wellbeing of children. That's why we are identifying games that contain gambling elements on our site.

The State Government of South Australia's web site http://nogame.com.au/ contains information about these concerns.