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In case you feel a need to explore Wii’s virtual world of pets, below is a Petz Sportz review. Attempting to fill the hole left by Nintendo’s not yet having brought its Nintendogs virtual pet experience to the web, the French game publisher Ubisoft has made the jump to Wii.
Perhaps intended to be seen as a joining of the Petz brand and the appeal of Wii Sports, Petz Sports offers a fairly traditional virtual pet experience — but then backs up that experience with some added athletic events starring your digital dogs. The concept works well enough. The problem, though, is that it isn’t taken nearly far enough in execution.
Because there’s only a handful of activities, and none of them are really the “sports” you’d expect. The game’s name implies them, but you won’t get anything like doggy tennis, or bowling, or even golf. What you do get is fetch. And jumping rope. And running, as your playful puppy goes head-to-head against other dashing dogs in a race to the finish line. All in very limited renditions, too.
Now, for the running sequences, sometimes there are hurdles thrown in. And sometimes you have to call your dog’s attention back to the race when it gets distracted, by inputting an on-screen button sequence in the right order, or run around cones or some other tricky thing. But slight variations on the theme aside, it’s all straight-up running. Which is made all the worse by the fact that the straight-up running controls are the most basic up-and-down Wii Remote waggle motions.
You’ll be flailing your arm back and forth as fast as you can, spurring your dog on to cross the finish line first — and, if it does, you’ll simply earn the right to run the next race, doing the very same thing over again. It’s repetitive and boring, and it’s going to make your arm feel sore.
Outside of the racing contests, there are similarly simple mini-games for playing fetch (which involves pitching a ball at a moving target on screen) and jumping rope (which is a bit like Dance Dance Revolution, with icons streaming vertically down the screen). Dancing, as it turns out, is another different game.
But that’s where the “sports” end, and none of them end up offering any hint of the lasting appeal that makes design ideas like this worthwhile in the long run — there are people still playing Wii Sports Tennis and Bowling regularly to this day, thanks to the timelessness of their designs. But none of Petz Sports’ sports come close to that.
Hmmmm….. From this Petz Sports review, it sounds like the virtual world is no match for a good run in the dog park. Have you found any alluring virtual pet worlds?