Pocket Creatures (iPhone)

Once upon a time, in a land only fourty-five miles away from here, there once lived a young boy. He watched digi-mon, and saw other children of the same age playing with tamagotchi’s. Jealousy grew within the boy, then during that summer he grew up and was no longer interested in having his own little “pocket monster”. Fast forward to today – that boy is now a young man and is asked to review Tactile Entertainment’s game ‘Pocket Creature’. All those months spent watching digi-mon flood back into memory; too bad the creature in ‘Pocket Creature’ is cute rather than bad-ass like ‘Were-garurumon’, but meh. Will it match up to the hype? Does it keep you occupied? Can it break my GF’s addiction to Farmville? Let the short list begin.

Priced at an introductory price of $2.99 (usd) this game gives you a lot of good polished eye candy. It looks like a game that usually goes for at least twice that price on average. However, I’d have to say that in my opinion, $2.99 is where they should leave it when you consider gameplay v.s. price. The game is simple. You hatch an egg, and adorable creature pops out, and you follow the clues on little tablets that lay about in order to learn what you can do next. I say CAN do because there is no right or wrong way to play this game. You are lord and master over one being and you can shape and form said being, of indeterminate gender, to your will. You can make it a lover, a hater, a fighter, a biter, or a happy pirate. Certain actions cause certain reactions – Newton would be proud. You are allowed to poke, slap, or pet your creature, and each will give him a mood icon that can do different things. Thunder clouds will allow you to smote pests with lightning, rain clouds will water plants, and rainbows will heal things. Also in the little garden, that you are sand boxed into by the way, you will encounter four other creatures that help or hinder your creatures growth. You can use three of these creatures as tools to do things, and once you get the hang of it you can plant your very own garden. One of them is a pest that hurts your garden. If you take care of garden, you’re going to have endless free food for your pet. While digging to plant seeds, you might even find skulls, gold, and other buried treasure. Open Feint makes an appearance here to handle achievements, but one cool factor here is that some achievements actually give you parts of outfits that you can mix and match to make your creature something unique to your style. You can even dress your pet to match it’s demeanor. If it’s a little devil, you can get devil horns for it by completing the achievement for it. If it’s a little perfect angel, yup you guessed it, angel wings await you.

I played this game for several days, and a little bit today after the update, and found that while it kept me busy, I was not really entertained. Not that this is a strike against the game, it’s just not my bag. I’m more of a ‘Portal’ kind-of-guy myself. In general, I was impressed by the graphics, they performed well. I was intrigued by the fact that certain plants would make my creature undergo certain temporary changes, also giving it different abilities. It was fun for a while to experiment with the ice breath, and the love beam (for lack of a better name). After 18 days (in game days) I was bored though. It was repetitive to me. Get up, feed it, dig up stuff, plant stuff, take care of said plants, slap the baby creature when it would try to beat up the other critters, rinse, wash, and repeat. I was hoping for something more.

I was, however, disappointed by how often the game would crash. I was also frustrated by how imprecise the controls were when you would try to move certain objects that might be near any other object. Perhaps a fix where it will cycle through the layers, shuffling through the icons of what you’re picking up? Just hold down your finger till the right one pops up, and then you can move it to where you want the fertilizer to go. I was also not thrilled with the fact that nothing really much would change with my creature day to day. No growing taller, or thinner, or change color somehow. It would just pop up and want food, a belly-rub, and then to go snuggle the ant-eater. The new update did, however, solve one complaint I did have. It now allows you to have more than one creature, and you can delete creatures that are going no-where. This was a good addition.

Over all I liked this game for what it was, but now that I’ve had my fill, my creature will probably die of loneliness. I feel that this game is a good deal at the current price. For fans of tamagotchi style gaming, this is a good addition to the iPhone OS platform. Even if it could benefit from a zoom function. Some other final thoughts on the matter, perhaps they could include some of the following – pests that invade on their own instead of having to coax them out of the hole they live in. Also including a larger garden after so many days would be fun. Even with my minor complaints and the HUGE amount of crashes I endured, I would give this game a 6 of 10. A 7 is plausible if they ever fix the crashing.

Game rated on a ten point system.

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