I love to draw a lot of cartoony characters in my free time, and even though I love art, I don’t really follow a lot of artwork by specific artists, except for the work done by David Lanham. His style of work is something that is just weird, and awesome all rolled into one. Plus the cartoony nature of some of his works really gets me.
Some of his most recent artwork though has been on a game for the iPhone and iPod touch running iOS 6.1.3 or higher called Hatch Pet. It’s virtual pet game kind of like Tamagotchi, but way the heck cuter, and up to date when it comes to interactivity. It just released finally and so far I have been loving this little time waster. Now although a few the of people playing the game so far have their reservations about some of the games features not being as expansive as they expected a virtual pet game to be for todays standards, or so they think. It’s still a pretty cool game, and additional features will be in the works for future updates, but there’s a lot to this app that most people don’t even realize. And so far the overall response to the app release seems to be pretty good. Where I really think this misconception stems from is that too many people assume that all the features of the game are unlocked right off the bat, but like most good games, you have to earn, or learn as you go and new features become available as you unlock them.
Here’s a few facts provided by the developers:
• Fugu come in a variety of colors and spots. It’s up to you to choose the right one to hatch!
• Plug in your phone to charge it, and your Fugu will catch some zzzzs too.
• Fugu love photobombing your photos and showing off its silly faces!
• Fugu thrive on your love and attention and build up trust in you. Keep yours fed and maybe it’ll show you its happy dance.
• Neglect it, and it will eventually run away… but not before waiting very sadly for you to come back.
The game is pretty simplistic but to help you walk through the basics a little boy named Max comes out to help give you guidance. Once your Fugu egg hatches, you can pet it, pinch/stretch his cheeks, poke it, shake it, feed it fruit from the surrounding trees, clean up it’s area of trash, dead fruit, and it’s poops. Your fugu will react to your input, and once he gets happy enough, noted by the flowers growing around your pet, you can make him do a happy dance which causes fruit to grow at an alarming rate, and sometimes grow starfruit.
Now if your pet fugu isn’t hungry you can turn fruit into currency or acorns, and starfruit will turn into a another type of currency or star coins. The pet store run by our little friend Max sits off to the right of your fugu where you can buy items such as rugs for you pet to lay on, an in game instant camera that your pet will photobomb, fruit, and storage container upgrades for safe keeping of extra fruit.
Throughout the game you may notice that some stickers will be laying around, a pile of acorns, or even star coins. Usually hidden around the edges of the game area. They’ll pop up from time to time. The stickers can be used to share with friends via social media or text message, and the acorns or star coins of course are for currency for the store. And if you have friends via Game Center that have a Hatch pet, you can sometimes gets gift wrapped presents from your friend’s pets. The contents of such packages can range from wonderful bundles of currency to a heaping pile of dung. Seriously a pile of poop was the most unexpected thing I got out of gift wrapped box, which was hilarious.
Now I haven’t even unlocked all the of the advertised features yet because according to their press kit, the feature list mentions being able to play peekaboo with your pet, which sounds awesome. That apparently happens after you’ve managed to gain 100% trust with your pet.
Now that’s something I haven’t mentioned yet was how important it is to keep your pet happy, because he can get sad if you neglect him. And if he gets sad enough he could run away. Now the feature list also mentions that you may be able to recover your lost Fugu pet depending on how much trust you originally had with him, and that Max would be the one to help you find him. But I would rather not risk it since I managed to get a limited edition colored pet that was only available to those who found their website, and signed up for their newsletter before launch.
Their also seems to be a symbiotic relationship between your iPhone, and your pet. This is made apparent by the fact that when your iPhone battery level is low, your fugu will begin to yawn and start to get tired. And if your plug in your iPhone, your fugu will goto sleep while your iPhone is charging. You see, the developers meant for your fugu to be an embodiment of the spirit of your iPhone. In the youtube video they mention that you love your iPhone, and now it can love you back. Also if you play music on your iPhone, your fugu will begin to dance to the music. These are just a few of the little nuances that they put into the game that make it really special. I don’t think that everyone who bought the game realizes those features when they just buy it, and quickly make a bad review when this game it what they expected in 5 seconds of playtime. It has a lot more going on under the hood than you would expect of a simple virtual pet game.
Plus they also promised this in their press kit.
Hatch is ever evolving with app updates
We’ll be starting by shipping a 1.1 update shortly after the launch of the 1.0, adding collectible iPhone wallpapers featuring your pet and new scenery transforming decor to unlock. Stay tuned on our Facebook page for previews ahead of its release!
I’m excited to see what the come up with in the next update, because so far I really love this game for multiple reasons. The artwork, animation, unique feature set, and the integration with the iPhone itself just seems amazing. But who couldn’t resist a little guy like this on their iPhone.
Short version of the review, buy it now!
Artwork & Animation by David Lanham
Soundtrack by composer Josh Mobley
Sound design by Emily Ridgeway, Bioshock sound designer
Animated Intro by Headless Studio
P.S. Has anyone ever noticed that throughout this game there are tiny doors everywhere, and even a tiny mailbox?