The software, Petz, includes two highly entertaining games in
one package: Dogz 5 and Catz 5 --the latest versions of the popular
virtual pets series.
Although it's not very educational, and in some ways, not
particularly deep, this program is delightful for young children.
Kids adopt pets--cats and dogs--and place them in different
playscenes. They play with them and care for them in a variety of
ways, and although that's pretty much the gist of the whole game,
it's not as tiresome as it may sound. In fact, our kid testers
return to the game often.
Note that unlike many software bundles, Petz actually combines the
two games instead of offering two separate games in one package. In
other words, kids can adopt cats and dogs in the same game.
New to this latest edition of the series are day-night cycles,
unique "kittenz" and "puppyz" (dogz and catz can have 1 to 4
babies), as well as five new mini-games.
Kids pick up and "drop" pets with their mouse, placing them into
playscenes, which are unique environments. After naming their pets,
they take care of them by petting and feeding them. Players can also
breed their petz. Players can have as many pets as they want, but
they are limited to adding a maximum of two pets at one time in a
Petz are small when they are first adopted, and then grow up to be
adult petz. There are 15 breeds of cats, and 15 breeds of dogs to
choose from. Different breeds of animals have different
personalities, and each pet has individual, unique personalities as
well. Adopted petz have personal profiles, and kids can take photos
of their petz in action.
Petz can be overfed (they become chubby), can become ill (medicine
in their water bowls will solve the problem!), and they certainly
need affection, attention, and discipline! Toys are available in the
different play areas, and they're portable. Children earn more toys
by playing mini-games. Pets can be dressed up in stylish (or
As far as breeding goes, kids need to place a male and a female dog
or cat together and either wait for them to fall in love, or speed
the process along by offering them such things as heart pillows and
love potions. In the screenshot directly above, a new mother
Chihuahua watches over her litter of puppies in the nursery
Kids can create their own playscenes using photos and images as
backgrounds. One of our testers created a background using a simple
paint program. The software asks kids to define the horizon and
ledges (on which catz and dogz can jump) of the scene.
The graphics are kind of funky, but cute nevertheless. Kids find
some humor an whimsy in the game as well. For example, a pig who is
making his way through the backyard walks over a paintbrush and his
head is subsequently painted blue. In various playscenes, different
animals arrive from time to time, such as a pig and a bunny in the
backyard, a circus dog in the circus playscene, and a Chihuahua with
a tiny mustache in the Wild West play area.
We love the fact that dogz and catz never get old or die. Perhaps
it's unrealistic, but young children can become very attached to
their adopted petz, so we are happy with this feature.
For more information, user reviews, or to buy:
Petz: Dogz 5 and Catz 5 Compilation
Reviewed: June 2005