What’s For Dinner?
(Please take the review score and this article with a grain of salt as I am very much not the target demographic for this title.)
Why is it that adults always teach kids the sounds that animals make, and then quiz them to death on it? The cow goes moo. The duck quacks. The dog barks. The cat meows. This irrelevant information is hammered into every baby’s brain but yet it serves no purpose. Never once have I faced a critical situation where I needed to know what sound a chicken makes. Like, I have never been on a job interview where I was told “you better know what sound a hippo makes or you are not getting this sales position.” Pet Care is essentially this but quizzes players with even more irrelevant information – what food does each animal eat.
Pet Care is essentially an app for the youngest gamers. Honestly, 18-24 month old babies are the target demographic for this $1.49 Switch eShop download. Using touch screen controls only (can only be played in handheld mode so put down that Pro Controller), the player has to guess which food the corresponding animal eats. For example, a frog will appear in the center of the screen and the player has to tap either the snail, carrot, or acorn. In this example, snail is the correct answer (I guess I didn’t realize that frogs can eat the hard shell of a snail but I guess they can according to Pet Care). If the player selects the correct answer, a new animal enters the screen and the process repeats. If the wrong answer is selected, a “nuh-uh” sound effect plays which indicates to try again. Getting the answer correct on the first attempt will earn a gold medal, second attempt silver, and third a bronze. After 10 rounds (10 animals), the game awards the player a final medal depending on performance.
(Despite the most simple of controls, I managed to find a glitch – if you rapidly tap the wrong answers then the right answer, the negative “try again” sound effect will play even thought the game will move to the next animal. This might be misleading for young gamers.)
Gameplay couldn’t be any simpler as the player just needs to tap one thing on the screen. However, there is some slight variation so it isn’t exactly the same each time. In the frog example listed above, the next round the frog popped up but with a new set of selectable options, a fly being the correct answer this time. However, there are some animals and foods that are questionable. For example, what does a moose eat? Go ahead, think about your answer. Seriously. Unless you live in northern Canada, you probably don’t know this answer. From the options available, I was presented with a pile of mush that looked like beans (maybe?), grass, or grass with berries. Apparently the answer was grass with berries. Like the frog example previously mentioned, the second time the moose popped up, the options were beans, acorn, or hay. Hay was the winning choice this time – I didn’t know moose had access to hay let alone they enjoyed eating it. Reindeer was also another animal. I mean, who knows what reindeer eat? It is also kind of gross to think that chickens eat worms. Teaching a toddler this might actually creep/gross them out… I know I was. Cats, apparently, drink milk and eat whole fish but do cat owners actually put this in their food bowls? Why isn’t Kibble n’Bits and tap water a more realistic option? Perhaps it would have been more entertaining and educational to select the food that comes from each animal instead. For example, a pig appears and you need to click on bacon. Or a wild garbage slurry monster appears and you need to click on hot dogs (I kid, I kid).
Pet Care is definitely not a Nintendogs clone that I thought it was going to be from the namesake. Perhaps it should have been called Pet Feed, Animal Eats, or Farm Animal Fiesta but all these titles could have negative and inappropriate connotations. It is easy for me, a middle aged dude, to make fun of a such a title that is clearly not my demographic so take the final review score and this article with a grain of salt, please. If you are a parent who wants to get your toddler into gaming, you can spend a buck on this simple Switch app, or you can probably find something just as good, if not better, for free on your mobile store or choice.
Not As Good As: owning your own pet
Also Try: YouTube Kids
Wait For It: your neighbor’s summer pig roast