Fantastic Pets is a Kinect game that is designed for preschoolers and young kids, allowing families to adopt a pet and participate alongside it in various mini-games and talent shows.
Using the Xbox 360 Kinect camera system, the game is controlled by moving around the screen and waving your arms and legs, and if you activate the Kinect microphone, your pet can also respond to verbal commands.
Even though the game does support two players, when you first player you’ll need to go through a lengthy single-player tutorial. This teaches you all the basics about Fantastic Pets, and then some. While we appreciate that it’s thorough, it does take a long time, maybe even a half hour. In fact, the Xbox 360 even popped up a message for us suggesting we take a break since we’d been playing so long – and we were still in the middle of the tutorial!
In the game, you participate in mini-games and talent shows to collect GEMS, which can be used for a number of activities, such as unlocking new mini-games or customizing your pet. GEMS are earned by having success, and with even a little bit of skill, players should have no problem collecting enough to do what they want in the game.
The mini-games in Fantastic Pets include popping bubbles, giving your animal a bath, playing fetch and more. Everything is rally easy to play cooperatively, players can just jump in and out of the screen and easily be added.
As part of the storyline in Fantastic Pets, families will follow the travels of Dr. Menagerie as he travels the world. Players will need to view a map, and select different stops on each continent, adding an educational element to the game that teaches geography concepts and real-life animal facts.
Fantastic Pets is clearly designed for young kids, and it shows. Animals are adorable and brightly colored, and there are four different types of pets to choose from – dogs, cats, dragons and horses. And these animals are always by your side, and often play a central role in helping you complete the mini-games. Fantastic Pets for Kinect is a great easy-to-play cooperative choice for families with pre-schoolers. There’s even educational value in this game as players will learn real-life animal facts and geography concepts, all nicely narrated for non-readers.