Petville is another facebook game by Zynga, who are also the makers of the previously-reviewed Cafe World and Farmville. In Petville, you create a humanoid furry creature and control them as they live their life, in a vaguely Sim-like way. The graphics are actually pretty impressive in this game. The number of appearance options you have when making your pet is pretty massive, and the resulting pets are generally really cute. I’ve played some other pet-type games on Facebook, and none of them come anywhere near Petville’s level of detail. As an added bonus, the (Flash-based) game runs at a respectable speed as well, just about the only Zynga-made game that does (though it frequently suffers from slow loading in the evening.)
By far the funnest part of Petville is the decorating options. You can decorate your house from a nearly overwhelming number of items that are available to purchase. There’s dozens of carpeting options, dozens more paint/wallpaper options, a huge variety of windows, furniture and electronics, kitchen appliances and even cars. Clothing options are similarly massive with just an overwhelming number of shirt, pant, dress and shoe options. There’s even a lot of costumes available, so you can dress your pet up as anything from an astronaut to Santa Claus.
Much like the Sims, upgrading your pet’s house with new and fancy stuff serves as the main draw. You start out with a broken down sofa, leaky sink and a few other things. Everything else you’ll need to buy, and its fairly expensive to decorate the entire house with nice items. You earn money by playing, and that’s where the game’s problems start.
The biggest problem with Petville is a significant lack of gameplay. There’s several things to do, but they’re all fairly boring and repetitive. You have to log in once a day or so to feed your pet (by refilling his/her bowl.) Then you give your pet a bath (they tend to get really dirty somehow), which just involved dragging the nearby bar of soap over them for a few seconds. Then you clean up the house a bit by going from room to room clicking on the banana skins, socks and half-eaten cookies scattered everywhere (this part tends to be really annoying because its easy to miss a piece of trash, resulting in having to make 2 or 3 passes through each room to get the ‘clean house’ bonus.) And that’s about it. You can then visit your neighbors and clean THEIR pet and houses.
If you play Petville, that’s basically going to be your daily routine. And I do mean daily, as if you miss a day, your pet runs off and you have to pay a rather massive fine to the animal catcher to get them back. And the game is really picky about the timing, too. If you feed your pet at 4PM one day, you can’t feed them until 4PM the next day. If you log in at 3:30 – too bad, gotta wait. And if you log in more than a couple hours later (even though its the same day), there’s a very good chance your pet got hungry and ran away. It WAY too particular about the timing of feeding your pet.
The game is a fairly new one, only having been released for a few months now. During that time, they’ve expanded the game world quite a bit. New items to decorate your house with are added constantly, to the degree where the options are a bit overwhelming. They’ve also added options for adding-on to your house, via a garage and a third-floor. An outdoor/yard area is supposed to be added soon.
A while back they also added a feature that I thought had the most potential to make Petville a game worth playing, which was the option to play with your pet. Unfortunately, the only option they added there was a painfully boring game where-in your pet blows a bubble and you click it to pop it. If they ever expand that section to include several activities to perform with your pet, it could definitely improve Petville significantly.
As it stands, Petville is fun and cute, but seriously lacking in anything that would make it worth playing seriously.