Friday, 21 August 2009

Pet Playpen, Sparebytes

When I faced the thought of the 8-hour flight from our home in London to my mother's house, in Washington D.C., it was not without trepidation - living away from my family, we do this a lot. All of which would be tolerable - if not for the bored child sitting next to me.

But for the first time, I was in for an unexpected moment of ease. I was loaded up with a portable DVD player, coloring pencils, sticker books, etc. Turns out, I needed none of them. Because, I have an iPhone.

The week before we left, I loaded up the phone with as many kid-friendly apps as I could find (and stand paying for - often the best ones do cost) from the Apps Store. I added traditional games, like Checkers ("Draughts"), coloring apps, memory games, etc. but the one that got the most traction, and left me free to read my book for hours at a time, was the Pet Playpen.

This Tamagotchi-style game offers the chance to "adopt" a penguin, kitten, dog or rock and watch over it using Food, Toys or Hygiene (read: washing and pooper-scooper style activities). Clean, simple cartoon graphics plus an ongoing requirement to "care" for your pet kept my daughter engrossed for a huge chunk of time. Which made it our favorite new apps; plane and simple.

You'll like it because: As addictive as jellybeans - for kids or adults.
Too bad: If your kid doesn't move fast to keep that pet happy, the animals run away.
iPhone Apps users gave it 3.5/5 stars
Cost: £1.19
Ages: 4-9

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